Japan deny Korean team gold hattrick in Antalya

Takaharu Furukawa and Waka Sonoda fist bumping in Antalya 2024.

Japan upset the archery applecart massively in Antalya, Türkiye beating the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions Korea in the mixed team gold medal match of the 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup's third stage.

Jeon Hunyoung had earlier won the recurve women’s team gold and her teammate Lee Wooseok had done the same with Korea’s recurve men.

A hattrick of golds for the nation were denied however as Takaharu Furukawa and Waka Sonoda ruined the Korean party, shooting perfectly in a shoot off to seal the gold for Japan.

Tokyo 2020 recurve men individual bronze medallist Furukawa shot the deciding last arrow but said in the post match interview, which you can watch in Japanese on archery+, that the pressure was no problem.

“I didn’t really care about the score. I just focused on my performance and my form.” Furukawa is more than accustomed to these intense situations on the world stage. 

Paris 2024 will be the 39 year old’s sixth Olympic Games after Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 winning individual silver, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 winning men’s team and individual bronze.

He is the veteran of this Japanese team, the grand old master but Sonoda the apprentice. She won her first senior international medal just earlier this month in the third leg of the Asia Cup.

Sonoda may be 22 but behaved well beyond her years in Antalya this week. Gutted by last weekend’s Olympic team quota defeat to Great Britain, Sonoda shook off the disappointment to win bronze in the recurve women’s team in the week, and now gold in mixed team. 

Winning her first ever World Cup medals this week, Sonoda knows what the real deal is this year.
“Japan won the mixed team gold, and we have a lot of confidence from this match but we really want this result in the Paris Olympics.”

Korea will undoubtedly still be the favourites for all three Olympic team medals in the summer but this result for sure will give them something to look over their shoulder for.

It was normal service up until this point on Sunday morning though as both men and women teams defeated France.  

Jeon Hunyoung, Lim Sihyeon and Nam Suhyeon won their first Hyundai World Cup gold medals this year following disappointing stage gold medal losses to China in Shanghai and Yecheon

Lim believes the recent defeats benefitted the team who are aiming for Korea’s straight tenth Olympic gold.

“The first and second stages woke us up because there we didn’t get the results we wanted,” said Asian Games champion Lim. “We tried to practice on the things we weren’t best in before. We practiced well for this tournament.”

The men’s team of Kim Je Deok, Kim Woojin and Lee Wooseok too looked strong as Korea overcame France for the second time of the day, 5-1 in set points. 

Kim Je Deok was a part of both Korean men’s and mixed team gold medal teams in Tokyo and now with the World Cup stages no more for 2024, he is looking to do the same in Paris.

“It’s good for me because it’s like practice for me and it’s a bit like the Olympics so I can kind of test my feelings and everything,” he said on what the Hyundai World Cup this year has helped him the most.

The recurve mixed team bronze medal match followed where India beat Mexico despite Bhajan Kaur feeling unwell in Antalya’s roasting hot temperatures. 

Her teammate Dhiraj Bommadevara will be looking to add one more medal this afternoon in the men’s individuals which are currently being broadcast live on archery+.