Shanghai 2024: Five archers to watch at the season opener

Deepika Kumari during practice in Shanghai.

More than 300 athletes are competing at the first stage of the 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai (China) next week.

Among them? Both defending circuit champions in the compound categories, Sara Lopez and Mathias Fullerton, the surprising rookie Korean recurve women’s squad for the season, plus plenty of archers looking to make a mark early in this Olympic year.

Scroll on for five names, in particular, that worth watching.

Watch coverage from Shanghai live with a subscription to archery+.

1. Mathias Fullerton

Who? The reigning compound men’s circuit champion from Denmark.

Why? Fullerton’s breakout result came at last year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Hermosillo, where he drilled his tiebreak arrow in the compound men’s title bout to finally top the podium at a major international. He’s kept the level through the indoor season, adding a win in Vegas, and there’s no reason to think he won’t maintain a spot leading the field over 50 metres, too.

Mathias has never podiumed at a stage of the tour individually.

2. Matias Grande

Who? The new recurve men’s Pan Am Champion from Mexico.

Why? Over the last six months, Mathias has gone from underdog at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final (as host nation invite), to runner-up at the Pan Am Games to reigning Pan American Champion, crowned less than a week ago in Medellin. As Mexico embraces its youth movement, and looks to return to the podium at the Olympics, having a strong male athlete to pair with Alejandra Valencia in the mixed team event will be vital.

Matias needs to prove his worth outside of the American continent.

3. Casey Kaufhold

Who? The current recurve women’s world number one from the USA.

Why? Casey’s top spot in the Sanlida World Archery Rankings is absolutely justified. The 20-year-old picked up her first stage win on the international tour at stage four in 2023 and just won the Pan American Championships in Medellin. But she’s here for Olympic glory, make no mistake. The US hasn’t had a recurve woman this competitive since the country was dominating in the 1970s.

Only a second World Cup stage win would make Casey the most successful US recurve woman in the tour’s 18-year history.

4. Deepika Kumari

Who? The Indian superstar returning to the recurve women’s team.

Why? After taking a year off to care for her new daughter, Kumari returns to an Indian team in desperate need of leadership – and results – in the lead-up to the Olympics. The women don’t have a single quota place… yet. Kumari has always had the ability to deliver medals. More important, right now, is that she leads this line-up to competitive relevance. No time to delay.

In 2021, Kumari, Komalika Bari and Ankita Bhakat combined for two stage wins. Since that line-up: None. The band is back together in 2024.

5. Kim Woojin

Who? The three-time recurve men’s World Archery Champion from Korea.

Why? After Oh Jin Hyek’s retirement, Kim Woojin is now the undisputed leader of the Korean recurve men’s team. The man with the magical glasses has won everything – except individual Olympic gold. This year could be his last dance. Which Woojin are we getting for it? The excellent… or the exceptional?

Team comes first. But Woojin stated that he wanted individual gold at Paris 2024 during the press conference revealing the Korean team for this season, which took place in Jincheon last week.