Lopez wins 12th career stage as Sullivan tops maiden podium

Sara Lopez shoots during the final in Yecheon.

Sara Lopez and Sawyer Sullivan won the compound events at the second stage of the 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup, booking their slots to the season-ending finale as well as topping the podium at Jinho International Archery Field in Yecheon, Korea.

It is the first stage win of Sullivan’s career and the 12th of Lopez’s – but the first since 2021.

“I’m so happy. And if I’m happy, then I can be the old Sara,” she said. “Coming here, I had pressure from the federation, from the country, but my parents, my fiancé, my friends, they told me, ‘do it for you because you love this’.”

Lopez cried as the Colombian anthem was played. 

“I lost all my happiness a couple of years ago. I was doing this because other people needed me to,” said the eight-time circuit champion.

“Not anymore. Now I’m back, I feel like the old me.”

She performed like the archer who went unbeaten internationally for nearly two years in the mid-2010s, the archer who topped the world ranking list for a record time, and the archer who singlehandedly changed the landscape of compound women’s archery, raising the bar time and time again.

Lopez upset top seed Han Seungyeon with a 149 in their semifinal and looked comfortable and confident as she beat Andrea Becerra, 146-144, in the final.

The win makes her the first reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion to book her ticket to this year’s final, scheduled for Tlaxcala in October.

It is the second consecutive stage at which Becerra finishes second.

“It feels a little bittersweet, but I did my best. I have my eyes on the World Cup Final,” she said. “I’m going to be home. Hopefully, it can happen for me and I’m going to just focus on that.”

Maya beat world number one Ella Gibson, 146-143, in the second semifinal but fell to late pressure from Lopez in the gold medal match.

The Mexican 23-year-old was also runner-up at last year’s world championships.

Lopez took two total gold medals on the day, after winning the mixed team event in the morning, but the USA’s Sawyer Sullivan had three, adding individual victory to the men’s team and pairs gongs.

After ousting Mister Perfect Mike Schloesser in the semis, he dropped only a single point against teammate and reigning Indoor Archery World Series Champion James Lutz.  Lutz led for most of the match but shot two nines, including his last arrow, in the final set. That handed Sullivan the win.

“I’ve looked up to him forever. It was almost less nerve-racking though because I’ve looked up to him and I just wanted to beat him,” said Sawyer. Neither archer had a coach in the arena.

Lutz begrudgingly congratulated his compatriot.

“I’m upset right now but I’m happy for Sawyer, he deserves this,” he said.“ Obviously, I wish it was the other way around for me, but you win some, you lose some.”

Competition in Yecheon continues with recurve finals day on Sunday. Watch coverage with a subscription to archery+.

Podiums: Yecheon 2024

Full results on the event page.

Compound men

  1. Sawyer Sullivan, USA
  2. James Lutz, USA
  3. Mike Schloesser, Netherlands

Compound women

  1. Sara Lopez, Colombia
  2. Andrea Becerra, Mexico
  3. Han Seungyeon, Korea

Watch coverage from Yecheon with a subscription to archery+.