GWANGJU, KOREA: As with last year’s Asian Games, the prospect of a near-guaranteed medal avalanche on home turf meant that the organisers and the KAA threw every resource at this competition, building a brand new oversize stadium. The home squad didn’t disappoint in the ranking and knockout rounds, and made almost every final in both recurve and compound.
But after Ki Bo Bae’s spectacular smashing of the 70m round world record on Saturday – breaking Park Sung-Hyun‘s record by four points, giving great quotes and sending the Korean media into overdrive – the rest of the shoot at the biannual University Games almost had an air of anticlimax. The home nation sending out an almost full-strength national recurve side did seem slightly bullish towards the spirit of the event, although they are all apparently studying somewhere and well within the age criteria, and the competition featured other grizzled pros like Natalia Avdeeva.
On compound finals day, Korea delivered in spades, taking four of the six golds on offer. Kim Jongho became Korea’s first Universiade triple gold medallist. In the women’s individual gold match, Toja Cerne nearly denied Song Yun Soo in a tight shootoff, but came up a few millimetres short. Russia denied the USA women top honours in a minor upset.
On a sold-out recurve day, the ever-lurking threat of Chinese Taipei was the only major challenge to the great white sharks. The men’s team unfortunately threw down too many eights to do any serious damage to the Koreans, with Lee Seungyun shooting completely clean with six tens – afterwards, he laconically stated: “I think being the last shooter brought out the best in me.” Lee followed up by burying teammate Ku Bonchan 6-0 in the men’s individual final to cap a spectacular 2015 return to form.
However, Chinese Taipei took unexpected revenge in the women’s team final, with a strong squad anchored by Tan Ya-Ting, a multiple World Cup medallist who finished above the Korean women at the top of the ranking round in Antalya this year. The women in blue took the opening set after Kang “The Destroyer” Chae-Young and Choi Misun both sent down eights. Choi leaked a seven in the third set to make it 4-2. Despite Ki Bo Bae finding a fourth ten, they split the points in the last to give Chinese Taipei the victory.
In the individual matches, Maja Jager squeaked past Mei Chen-Hsiung in a shootoff for the women’s bronze. Her second podium finish in two major events (she took silver at Baku 2015) bodes well for a serious defence of her title at the upcoming world championships. For the gold, Ki Bo Bae and Choi Misun contested their third major podium match of the year in a high-quality final that saw every arrow in five sets hit the yellow, with a perfect end from each archer. Despite Choi drilling a staggering seven tens in a row, it went down to a shootoff. Ki Bo Bae edged it out, taking a 6-5 victory to a roaring crowd and doing her bit to leave the home nation sitting proudly at the top of the medal table.
Full results are here via IANSEO: http://www.ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=538
Article about the record breaking 70m round here.
Thanks to Yonhap News for the quote.