Olympic archers are return to the world stage

Tokyo (JPN), Sept 20, 2012: VALENCIA, Olympic archers are return to the world stage to do battle, some to continue their summer of medal-winning performances, and others feeling they have something to prove.

After three World Cup stages, the cream of the crop in archery has made its way to Tokyo for the Archery World Cup Final. Eight archers per category will now play it out for the last major individual titles of the season! The best mixed teams of the year, USA in both recurve and compound, will also play the Japanese hosts.

Recurve Men

The men’s recurve category is stronger than ever, with six archers from the world’s top 10 and three medalists from this summer’s Olympic Games including the world No. 1 and Olympic team silver medalist Brady ELLISON (USA).

Korea’s IM Dong Hyun must be coming into this World Cup Final looking for some Olympic revenge. The world No. 2, but entering the competition as No. 1 in the World Cup ranking, stamped his mark on the ranking round at the London Games. He shoot a new world and Olympic record of 699, beating his old record by 3 points and taking the top spot going in to the eliminations matches. But those eliminations did not go well, with his team having to settle for bronze, despite being ranked No. 1 in the team event as well.

Individually, IM only just made the top ten at the Olympic Games. He will be looking for more world record shooting consistency here; however, his first match may be tougher than he bargained for. His quarterfinal opponent, Japan’s Takaharu FURUKAWA, is only at this year’s World Cup Final as a host nation wild card entry, but after his fantastic individual silver medal at London 2012 no one is writing off his chances here in his home country. FURUKAWA versus IM should be a very interesting match.

GBR’s Larry GODFREY will look to make up for a disappointing home Games this summer in London and in the first round faces long-standing rival KIM Woojin (KOR). KIM missed out on making the bronze medal winning Korean team, despite being the reigning world champion. KIM and GODFREY have met twice before and both times KIM has not let GODFREY take a single set point, so GODFREY is hoping it won’t become three in a row.

Luis ALVAREZ (MEX) exploded onto the archery scene in 2012 with a dominating win at the third stage of the Archery World Cup in Ogden, USA. He was then added to the Mexican Olympic Team at the last moment, taking 17th place individually; his team got within 2 points of making the final. In the end they just missing out on a medal, finishing 4th. This was not the case for ALVAREZ’s opponent here in the first round, world No. 1 Brady ELLISON (USA). ELLISON’s team took the silver medal but his 2nd round exit individually must have left him feeling disappointed. A good performance here would do ELLISON’s confidence a world of good and keep him in that No. 1 spot. A victory in Tokyo would also mean that ELLISON would be the first archer to win three Archery World Cup Finals in a row!

Gael PREVOST (FRA) was knocked out of the Olympics by a Ukrainian team member, but it is not Victor RUBAN he will be facing here; it is Victor’s teammate Dmytro HRACHOV. HRACHOV does outrank PREVOST in both the Archery World Cup and world rankings, but with the pressure on there is no telling who will be victorious. Both athletes were at the World Cup Final in Istanbul last year where HRACHOV beat PREVOST for bronze, 7-3. In total, Ukraine’s HRACHOV leads 2-0 in the head-to-head matches.

Recurve Women

London double Olympic gold medalist and newly crowned world No. 1 KI Bo Bae from Korea heads up the women’s recurve category and she is joined by two other 2012 Olympic medalists, and two from the world’s top 10.

This World Cup Final in Tokyo is the first major international event in outdoor archery since the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and there are a lot of Olympic scores to settle. Alejandra VALENCIA was the only Mexican woman to leave London without a medal, as her teammates Aida ROMAN and Mariana AVITIA won silver and bronze respectively. India’s Deepika KUMARI went into the Games world ranked No. 1 but exited in the first round after shooting four ends of 26 points each, not her normal level of performance. A good result in Tokyo will make a welcome end to a challenging 2012 season for either of these athletes. However, there is little hope that their first round opponents at the World Cup Final will make it any easier.

After a 5th place finish in last year’s Archery World Cup Final in Istanbul VALENCIA will play the newly crowned team Olympic champion CHOI Hyeonju (KOR). Also returning from Istanbul, where she claimed 2nd place, and entering the competition as the No. 1 seed in the World Cup ranking, KUMARI will face Japan’s wild card entry Miki KANIE. Like on the men’s side,KANIE, the host country’s representative, is in fantastic form since her team’s history-making performance in London, claiming Japan’s first ever women’s Olympic archery medal by winning the bronze versus Russia. On that Russian team was Kristina TIMOFEEVA, and that bronze medal match will be far from her mind if she meets KANIE in the second round. First, however, TIMOFEEVA needs to get past the newly-married Jennifer NICHOLS (recently married to HARDY) from the USA, which is never easy.

Chinese Taipei’s LIN Chia-En was a late entry after China’s withdrawal from the Archery World Cup Final, but her bronze medal at Stage Two of the Archery World Cup in Antalya, Turkey shows she means business and is a real medal prospect. However, her first round match against Korea’s KI makes it a difficult draw.

Compound Men

Reo WILDE (USA) has totally dominated this year’s Archery World Cup, winning every Stage both as an individual and in the team rounds. With his mixed team medals, it takes his total to seven golds and one silver -not bad at all, especially considering that year only had only three Stages. There is good reason why WILDE is world No. 1 and losing to follow countryman Rodger WILLETT JR in the Archery World Cup Final last year can only make him more determined.

WILDE faces Japan’s Naoto ANJI in the first round, and the winner of that match will go on to face either Peter ELZINGA (NED), former European champion and current FITA Round world record holder, or Pierre Julien DELOCHE (FRA), world ranked No. 3, from the other quarterfinal.

It will be world No. 2 and Archery World Cup ranked No. 2 Braden GELLENTHIEN (USA) on the other side of the draw hoping for an all-American final, but with 6 of the world’s top 10 archers competing, this Final is far from predictable; GELLENTHIEN’s first meeting will be versus Paul TITSCHER (GER). Finally, the silver and bronze medalists from the Archery World Cup Stage 1 in Shanghai will meet up in a close first round match: Dominique GENET (FRA) and Julio Ricardo FIERRO (MEX) are also world ranked 4th and 7th, respectively.

Compound Women

As a London and Beijing Paralympic champion, Danielle BROWN (GBR) joins an impressive field at this Final, as the replacement for Olga BOSCH (VEN) who withdrew for family reasons (BROWN was the next highest-ranked archer in the Archery World Cup ranking). There is also world No. 1 and current world champion Albina LOGINOVA (RUS) in this category, and 7 of the 8 athletes are in the world’s top 10; only Japan’s wild card Yumiko HONDA is not. With HONDA having LOGINOVA in the first round, it makes for a tough – but far from impossible – start for HONDA.

BROWN enters her first World Cup Final, even though she was unable to attend the second stage in Antalya due to her Paralympic commitments. She meets world No. 3 Marcella TONIOLI (ITA) in the first round, and the winner will go on to face either Italy’s Laura LONGO or Stage 3 winner Christie COLIN (USA) in the semifinals.

The 2008 Archery World Cup champion Jamie VAN NATTA (USA) enters her fifth World Cup Final and meets new German archer Kristina BERGER, who has made her international debut this year in style, winning four Archery World Cup medals and taking the European individual title too.

The compound athletes will compete on Saturday, and fans can look forward to the recurve contests on Sunday. What an exciting weekend of archery!

VALENCIA and LIN to replace Chinese Athletes

World Archery announces that Ms Alejandra VALENCIA (MEX) and Ms LIN Chia-En (TPE) are replacing Ms FANG Yuting and Ms XU Jing from P.R. China, who are not allowed to participate in the Archery World Cup Final in Tokyo.

The World Cup Final brings together the top 8 athletes of the archery season in each category and will be held in Hibiya Park, Tokyo on 22-23 September.

The Chinese Archery Federation informed World Archery on 17 September that, and according to Mr WANG Lei the Secretary General of the Chinese Archery Federation: “In view of the current Sino-Japan diplomatic relations, I’m very sorry to inform you that Chinese delegates are not going to attend the World Cup Final which will be held in Tokyo this month, because of security concerns.”

World Archery regrets that these top athletes are prevented from competing and we hope that these athletes will be able to qualify in the future, which is not an easy task. If a qualified athlete cannot come, he/she is replaced by the next one in the World Cup ranking.

World Archery is very pleased with the preparations by the All Japan Archery Federation and the Tokyo Government, and excellent conditions will be offered to all of the participating athletes.

The following countries will participate in the Archery World Cup Final: Italy, Republic of Korea, Germany, Mexico, Great Britain (*), Russian Federation, Netherlands, France, United States of America, Ukraine, India and of course the host country Japan.

We wish the athletes from Mexico and Chinese Taipei and all other qualified athletes the best of luck in this exciting final.

(*) Danielle BROWN (GBR) replaces Olga BOSCH (VEN) in Compound Women due to a family problem that prevents Ms BOSCH from travelling. —- WA

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