Antalya 2019: Compound finals line-up, preview and predictions
Five weeks after we started the Hyundai Archery World Cup season in Colombia, we are almost done with the penultimate event in Turkey. And, as of Monday this week just passed, archers on the tour have a tangible goal to aim for.
It’s been announced that the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final will take place in Moscow, Russia on 6-7 September. (That’s not a mistake, it’s on Friday and Saturday.)
In the compound men’s competition, Mike Schloesser is already qualified after winning stage one in Medellin and Braden Gellenthien joined him with victory in Shanghai. Sara Lopez won the first stage and first compound women’s ticket to Moscow at home in Colombia and then Korea’s So Chaewon took the second.
There’ll be a third in both categories after this weekend’s finals next to the beach in Antalya.
Kris Schaff /James Lutz
Compound men’s gold medal match
It’s an all-USA final for the win in Antalya, and an interesting one at that. Kris Schaff is the defending Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion after winning in Samsun last year.
His opponent, compatriot James Lutz, is shooting at his first international event.
There’s little in the way of statistics to directly compare this pair – only that Schaff dropped seven points during eliminations to Lutz’s nine. And, when the 26-year-old world number five needed an X to beat Mike Schloesser in the semifinals, he delivered.
Schaff finished seventh in Medellin but lost his first match in Shanghai. He hasn’t accrued that many points towards the circuit ranking. He really needs this win – if he wants to defend his title this year in Moscow.
The pick: Kris
Alexis Ruiz /Danelle Wentzel
Compound women’s gold medal match
A first gold medal match on the international circuit for both these young women with an appearance at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final on the line.
This is Alexis Ruiz’s debut season and she’s already won two individual bronze medals – in Medellin and Shanghai – along with four team gongs: three gold and one silver.
Danelle Wentzel, the 60-metre world record holder, will likely need to outperform her career average to take down Ruiz in her first career final.
The 24-year-old South African archer has shot 9.41 points per arrow in matchplay to date – not including this event, where’s she’s up at 9.79 and hasn’t shot less than a 146-point 15-arrow 50-metre match.
That’s better than Alexis has run this year. The reigning World Archery Youth Champion is averaging 9.71 in head-to-head contests in 2019.
The pick: Danelle
Mike Schloesser /Daniel Munoz
Compound men’s bronze medal match
World number one Mike Schloesser is already qualified for this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Moscow having won the opening stage in Medellin.
There, Daniel Munoz, shooting at home, finished seventh - respectable. But there’s possibly more to come.
Munoz’s name has been mentioned by his peers as a contender for the world title in more than one interview over the last couple of tournaments. Perhaps this final will show some of that potential?
The pick: Mike
Viktoria Balzhanova /Huang I-Jou
Compound women’s bronze medal match
Russian archers always seem to do well at this event in Antalya. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise since the team often comes before the start of the season for some early outdoor training – when the weather’s nice here, not so much at home.
Viktoria Balzhanova last won an individual medal on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit in 2011 in Porec. She had a three-year international hiatus from 2014 to 2016.
Huang I-Jou has three team silver medals on the circuit to her name. Her best individual result to date is ninth.
Balzhanova is shooting 9.63 points an arrow this season to Huang’s 9.53. She’s the favourite.
The pick: Viktoria
Team gold medal matches
Compound mixed team final: Denmark/South Africa – This gold medal won’t be the one Stephan Hansen wanted but it’s nice to have him back in the arena after he missed the first two stages of the season. What can South Africa do here?
Compound men’s team final: Turkey/Denmark – Not an expected final for the host team after seeding ninth. This is an opportunity for Denmark to get back to the winning ways of a few years ago.
Compound women’s team final: USA/Russia – The USA had silver at stage one and gold at stage two. There’s no step higher to climb but one would assume they’d rather not go downhill.
The third stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place on 20-26 May in Antalya, Turkey.