The World Cup season is over, and we’re into World Championship season. It went out in style though, with a spectacular finish in Rome at the Stadio dei Marmi. The weather was beautiful, not too crazy hot, and dry apart from an apocalyptic thunderstorm on the familiarisation and practice day on Friday, where the skies were almost black at 1pm in the afternoon (see photos below).
The stadium is part of the complex built for the Rome Olympic Games of 1960, and between CONI (the Italian Olympic committee) FITARCO (the Italian archery federation) and Hyundai (the title sponsor) they put on a genuinely spectacular show, with an almost carnival atmosphere, clanking Roman soldiers and a large, enthusiastic audience, especially on recurve Sunday. It was a cut above all other World Cup finals so far, I think. It was also a reminder that archery has two huge stars in Brady Ellison and Ki Bo Bae, who got the biggest cheers of the day and both spent hours with fans afterwards on hundreds of selfies and autographs. Brady couldn’t, however, get past Kim Woojin at the last, who had turned it on. The guy was a machine.
It was pleasing to have an actual scoop, to able to break the news of Ki Bo Bae’s upcoming marriage (and attendant fiance) on worldarchery.org, and watch the Korean media gobble it up the next day. Even if a couple of people got confused with my and-another-thing-sentence on Facebook: “Oh, and Ki Bo Bae is getting married in November.” and interpreted it to mean “Oh (meaning Oh Jin Hyek) and Ki Bo Bae are getting married in November.” Will remember to be clearer next time.
But Ki Bo Bae, after surviving a ragged first match, well deserved her win. We did a double interview (forthcoming) with Bo Bae and Chang Hyejin, in which Bo Bae was asked to tell us a secret of her archery practice. She said: “Shoot one more arrow than everybody else.” – and it was never truer than this weekend. Her Friday familiarisation session on the finals field coincided with a torrential downpour that led several other archers to abandon the session. She, however, carried on in the pouring rain, pushed on as ever by her coach Park Chae-soon; him of the gray hair and noisy disposition. That extra effort in miserable conditions might not have won the title, but it said an awful lot about what it takes to do it.
Thanks, as ever, to everyone who made it happen; everyone I met, worked with, chatted to, and ate and drank with. See you all again soon.
Plenty more pics up at Dutch Target as usual.