Renewed focus on teams results in Korean wins at opening World Cup stage

28 April 2019
Medellin, Colombia
The men beat Australia, the women Italy and the mixed USA in the finals of the first major event of the year.

The Korean recurve men’s, women’s and mixed teams won the gold medals at the first stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, Colombia. The women beat Italy in straight sets, the men took four to beat Australia.

“As soon as we finished the Korean selections, we started working on the team event,” said Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin. “I’m happy to get a gold medal to start the year – and I’m hoping to get good results at the world championships.”

This year’s worlds in ’s-Hertogenbosch will act as the primary qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Since the team event was introduced to the Olympics in 1988, the Korean women has won all eight gold medals available at the Games. Securing the quota places early in the process is seen as paramount to continuing that run.

Coaches have two year contracts with the Korean squad. Some stay for double cycles – four years in total – covering the Asian Games and Olympic Games, but at the start of 2019 there has been near wholesale change. Only Oh Kyo-Moon is back, and he has switched from working as assistant men’s team coach to assistant women’s team coach.

The new man in charge, Oh Seon Tek, also runs Chang’s company team in Seoul, called LH, and has refocused the squad on performing in the team events first and foremost. He should be happy with their first performance on a finals field in 2019.

Chang, Choi Misun and Kang Chae Young shot sets of 55, 56 and 57 points in a quick, 6-0 victory over Italy.

“I was out of the team for a year, and it was good to shoot for a medal again,” said Misun. “I’m still a little bit nervous as it’s the first time I’m back but it’s been good.”

The men didn’t quite hit the highs of the elimination round where they never scored less than 57 points in a six-arrow end. But Kim Woojin, Lee Woo Seok and Lee Seungyun did enough to beat Australia, 5-3, without looking in too much danger.

“First international stage of the year and a gold medal,” said Seungyun. “I’m hoping to continue this good performance for the rest of the year.”

Kang and Kim snuck past the USA in the mixed team final, on a measure in a tiebreak.

The Netherlands beat Canada to the recurve men’s team bronze medal, Sjef van den Berg delivering the winning 10 in a tiebreak; France edged Spain to the recurve women’s team bronze.

Korean team gold medallists Kang Chae Young and Lee Woo Seok will also shoot for the individual titles at this event.

Competition at the first stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, Colombia runs until Sunday 28 April.