Shanghai 2018: Completely subjective event awards
At the end of the year, members of the public, journalists and archery experts are polled to decide the World Archery Awards, subjective titles handed out to athletes who impressed during the course of the season.
But, why wait? We’ll be handing out our own, entirely subjective and immaterial, awards after each stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup.
These athletes may not be the winners of the first leg in Shanghai, the may not have shot the best scores – but they might have impressed us the most.
Recurve men: Denis Gankin, Kazakhstan
In Shanghai in 2017, the Kazakhstan men upset Korea in the recurve men’s team gold medal match – and it was the first of three lost finals for Kim Woojin at that tournament.
Woojin turned that around in 2018, leaving with three golds rather than three silvers, while Kazakhstan flew under-the-radar with a solid qualifying and better-than-average finishes.
No arena appearance, but team member Denis Gankin seeded 19th, won three matches and only lost to Brady Ellison in a shoot-off (one of three tiebreakers the US athlete took) – landing top 10 overall – proving that the previous result was no flash in the pan.
Recurve women: Chang Hye Jin, Korea
Forget everything that happened before the finals arena. Gold medallist Hye Jin gets this nod purely on the nine arrows she shot in the final: 29, 30, 29. And that 30 – three beautiful arrows in the X-ring. The prettiest thing in archery.
Compound men: Federico Pagnoni, Italy
Pagnoni shot out of his skin, averaging 149 points a match through eliminations, to make his first international final against Kim Jongho.
He lost that match 147-145, but if he can make those scores his new norm, he’ll have another shot soon enough.
Compound women: Sara Lopez, Colombia
It would be nice to pick Chen Yi-Hsuan or So Chaewon for taking their first medals on the international circuit, or even Sophie Dodemont’s top-10 in her return to the tour.
But Lopez’ win in Shanghai was undoubtedly the most impressive performance from all the compound women.
Not only was it her fourth consecutive gold at the stage, and not just did it get her back to world number one in the rankings, but she won in Shanghai after a sub-par qualifying effort where she ranked down in 24th.
Surprise: Jamie van Natta, USA
It had been six years since Jamie, one of the USA’s most experienced female compound archers, had made the individual top eight at an international tournament – and she last took a medal when she won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Tokyo in 2012.
Her second seeding in qualification was impressive and, while she couldn’t quite convert that into a podium, finishing fourth, seeing Jamie back in medal contention was a nice surprise to start the season.
Breakthrough: An Qixuan, China
A toss up between Vanessa Landi, who took her first individual international medal for Italy with recurve women’s bronze, and An Qixuan, the second-placed athlete in the same competition.
An gets it, as Shanghai was her first final, her first Hyundai Archery World Cup podium and her first event, ever.
1. Riau Ega Agatha, Indonesia – Kim Woojin’s dispatcher at the Olympic Games in Rio, Agatha seeded seventh in Shanghai and lost a quarterfinal double shoot-off to Korea’s Lee Woo Seok.
A new rule implemented this year dictates that if both recurve archers shoot a 10 on the first tiebreaker, it’s declared a tie – and then goes closest to the middle on the second shoot-off. Frustrating for Agatha, no doubt, who shot a closer 10 with his first arrow but was wider with his second.
Still a promising start to the season.
2. Braden Gellenthien, USA – for talking to Mike Schloesser on the line during the bronze medal match when he was struggling with nerves in the finals arena. A decent show of sportsmanship.
3. So Chaewon, Korea – a first individual international podium for the English-speaking member of team Korea. She’d averaged higher per-arrow scores that her competitors over the last 14 months, but hadn’t converted that into silverware, until Shanghai.
The first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup took place in Shanghai, China on 23-29 April; the second stage starts in Antalya, Turkey on 20 May.