Shanghai 2019: Recurve finals line-up, preview and predictions
For the second Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in a row, the recurve men’s final four consists of Brady Ellison, Sjef van den Berg, Lee Woo Seok and Kim Woojin. In a game of millimetres, with matches so easily won and lost, consistency like this is a telling indicator as to who is really on top form at this point in this pivotal season.
Brady, in the bronze final in Shanghai, already has a space booked at the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final after winning Medellin. Woo Seok or Woojin will join him.
Kang Chae Young is into her second consecutive women’s title match. If she wins it, it’ll open up a fourth points qualifying spot for the final – as the Shanghai ticket disappears.
Kang Chae Young /Tomomi Sugimoto
Recurve women’s gold medal match
While Chae Young is in her second final in a row, Tomomi Sugimoto is also in her second consecutive medal match. She finished third in Medellin, her first individual international podium, and is guaranteed another gong here.
But more important than the metal around her neck would be the secured spot for the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
Kang has never won more than one individual medal in a single season, let alone two golds. Victory in Shanghai would be the fourth Hyundai Archery World Cup stage title of her career.
She’s on course to take it, averaging 9.53 points per arrow in matchplay here, compared to Tomomi’s 9.35.
The pick: Chae Young
Lee Woo Seok /Kim Woojin
Recurve men’s gold medal match
The two top Korean men have met four times in international competition since the start of 2018, winning two apiece. But the two most important matches went Kim Woojin’s way.
He beat Woo Seok in the Asian Games final and for the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final crown, the third of his career.
Neither has looked unbeatable thus far this season, but both have looked pretty good. World number one Woo Seok was outclassed by Brady in the Medellin final; he won’t let that happen again.
The pick: Woo Seok
Tan Ya-Ting /Nur Afisa Abdul Halil
Recurve women’s bronze medal match
What about Nur Afisa? The 34th seed took advantage of some poor arrows from Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin in the third round to spring a run deep into the bracket.
She shot some poor sets during eliminations, as low as 23 points, but she also knocked in some good ones – and a better arrow in a single-arrow shoot-off to survive the quarterfinals.
That said, world number four Tan Ya-Ting is undoubtedly the favourite for this medal. Encouraging, since she has only recently returned from a hand injury.
The pick: Ya-Ting
Brady Ellison /Sjef van den Berg
Recurve men’s bronze medal match
There are just two pieces of history that matter to this match. One is near, one is a bit further in the past.
Three years ago, Brady beat Sjef in the bronze medal match at the Olympic Games. Finishing fourth at Rio 2016 had the Dutchman out of sorts for some time but, as another top international recently said, this is the first time since then that Sjef really looks like he’s enjoying himself when he’s competing again.
And in Medellin, when this pair met in the semifinals, there were fireworks. Brady needed three perfect sets to overturn a 3-1 deficit, win the match and go on to take the tournament.
Sjef ended up fourth, losing the bronze medal match to Kim Woojin. He doesn’t deserve to finish off the podium again.
The pick: Sjef
Team gold medal matches
Recurve mixed team final: Turkey/Chinese Taipei – Nineteen-year-olds Mete Gazoz and Yasemin Anagoz have been shooting together for over a decade. When they’re together on the shooting line, they are both better.
Recurve men’s team final: Turkey/Chinese Taipei – This is incredibly evenly matched. Both teams have been shooting around the 56-point mark during eliminations. Look for this one to go to a tiebreak.
Recurve women’s team final: Korea/China – Although they have not yet looked like their dominant selves, the Korean women will not be allowed to lose this final. It’s a must-win; it’s team first, above all else, leading up to the worlds.
The second stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place on 6-12 May in Shanghai, China.