Double gold for Korea’s Kim Yun Hee

1 August 2015
Copenhagen (DEN)
Heading to Copenhagen, top recurve nation Korea had never won a world gold medal in compound competition. Yun Hee bagged two.

Since the reintroduction of archery into the Olympic Games, Korea has been at the top of the leaderboard at international archery events all over the world.

But it’s only recently, when it was introduced into the Asian Games sport programme, that Korea started to take the compound event seriously.

That compound experiment has officially paid off: Korea collected two gold medals and World Champion titles on compound Saturday at Copenhagen 2015.

Kim Yun Hee beat the States’ Crystal Gauvin in a compound women’s gold final that was decided in the third end.

Gauvin struggled, putting in a nine and an eight – while her opponent, Yun Hee, decided that was the moment to drill all three arrows of the end into the 10-ring for a perfect 30.

The advantage jumped to four in favour of the Korean.

It would be a lead she would surrender little of over the final six arrows. A solid 29-, 28-point closing two sets gave Yun Hee a 144 total – and a three point win over Crystal Gauvin.

“I just want to fly,” said Kim Yun Hee! “I’m really happy to win this gold medal against Crystal.”

The key to the Korean’s success was simple.

“I just focused on 10, 10, 10. Never lower scores, just hitting the 10 and that’s what helped me to win,” she explained.

Korea’s first-ever compound world title actually came two matches earlier on compound Saturday in Copenhagen. It did still come courtesy of Kim Yun Hee, though – paired up with Kim Jongho, winner of the Archery World Cup stage in Antalya in 2015, in the mixed team event.

The fifth seeds, who had beaten Mexico and previous World Champion Italy earlier in the competition, faced 11-ranked France – Dominique Genet and Amelie Sancenot – in the final.

It was Sancenot’s first arena appearance, while Dominique has shot on the international scene since 1996 – the year before his young partner was born! He collected indoor worlds bronze in 2007 and team bronze at Belek 2013.

Amelie’s inexperience showed early when she put an early seven to open the match – but quickly rallied. Unfortunately, while the Koreans kept all in the gold, she struggled to find the 10.

Trailing by just a point at the halfway stage, the match ran away from the French pair over the back half.

Two 39-point ends had Korea first four points up then seven points up at the close – 153 to France’s 146 – for that statement victory in compound competition.

The mixed team bronze medal went to South Africa – but neither they nor Russia started well. While the Russians remained floundering in the fourth, Sera Cornelius and Patrick Roux jumped five points ahead, to win 146-141.

Roux said he was very nervous at the start of the match and the wind was difficult to deal with, while Sera was just thankful to have such a “great partner backing her up”.

Sara Lopez won compound women’s bronze. Her Russian opponent, Mariia Vingradova, started far stronger but dropped a six in each of the third and fourth ends.

By the start of the fifth end, Mariia was six points down: Too much of a deficit to recover from against the 15-arrow match world record holder from Colombia.

Sara closed with a perfect 30 to take the match.

“This bronze tastes like gold”, said Sara, who had 145 points total over the 15-arrow final to her opponent’s 138. “I fought hard to win it.”

“When I shot against Crystal, she won – it was a good, tough match and she’s one of the archers I admire most in archery. So to win bronze, considering my age, makes me extremely happy.”

Sara already has gold medals from the Archery World Cup Final at Lausanne 2014, the team event at the Belek 2013 World Archery Championships and multiple World Cup stages decorating her resume.

“This bronze has the meaning of gold to me.”