INCHEON, Korea. Recurve eliminations day on a rain-soaked Gyegang Asiad Archery Field, and the host nation was shocked by the defeat of the mighty Korean men’s team, beaten by the Chinese by 5 set points to 4 in the semi-final. In windier conditions than previous days, the match went to a shoot-off, where the teams tied on 29 points but the Chinese won by being closest to the centre.
The Korean men have won every Asian Games team gold for the last eight editions of the Games going all the way back to 1982; now they must fight it out for bronze with Japan on Sunday, who unexpectedly lost their semi-final 5-1 to a resurgent Malaysia. Afterwards, Oh Jin-Hyek described the tournament as “harder than the Olympics”.
The KAA was quick to defend the team. The Korean women’s national team coach, Ryu Su-Jeong said: “Korean archery is still winning, but is becoming more difficult.” Joo Hyun-Jung added, “Gold isn’t something to be taken for granted.” It appears that making the national team might be becoming something of a poisoned chalice; with the staggering achievements of the past and the sky-high expectations making any falls from grace that much harder.
In the women’s team event, Korea cruised through to the gold medal match, despite Joo Hyun-Jung having to pull out of the squad with a rotator cuff injury and being replaced by Lee Tuk-Young. They beat Kazakhstan before crushing India in the semifinal, and will face China in the final on Saturday. Despite the usual dominant display, the pressure is firmly on, as the Korean ladies have lost two finals in a row – to Japan in the Asian Grand Prix and to the same Chinese team at the World Cup in Antalya in June this year. A disappointed India will face Japan for the bronze.
There was slightly better news for the Koreans in the individual finals, although Lee Seungyun unexpectedly fell to Yong Zhiwei of China in the quarter-finals by a single point. Most matches went to form, setting up some intriguing clashes for Sunday. In the recurve men, Kuo Cheng Wei of Chinese Taipei will face Oh Jin-Hyek of Korea, with Yong Zhiwei of China facing Hideki Kukuchi of Japan in the other semi. In the recurve women, Jung Dasomi of Korea will face Ren Hayakawa of Japan, while Xu Jing of China will face Chang Hye-Jin.
Deepika Kumari was thrashed in her quarterfinal by Diananda Choirunisa of Indonesia, to face the wrath of the Indian media after a low-key performance for the Indian recurve team.
The competition continues with the compound finals tomorrow.
INCHEON, Korea: The compound team and individual eliminations were completed today, in the debut outing of the discipline at the 17th Asian Games. The women’s team of Seok Ji-Hyun, Choi Bomin and Kim Yun-Jee scored 238 points out of a possible 240 in the team’s quarter-final victory over Laos to break the world record of 236 points set by the USA team in 2011.
They then eased past Iran 229-222 in the semifinals and will shoot against Chinese Taipei for the gold medal this Saturday, with Iran and India contesting the bronze.
In the men’s team competition, India will face off against Korea in the gold medal match. Korea only just squeezed past the Phillippines in the semi-final, who will face Iran for the bronze. Afterwards, Choi Yong Hee said: “I’m glad to be inthe final, butwe haven’t won it yet. You have to do your bestwithout losingconcentrationtill the end if you want towin the gold.”
The strong performances from the Indian squad continued as Abhishek Verma upset favourite Choi Yong Hee of Korea 147-142 in the individual quarter-final, shooting 12 10s in the process. Trisha Deb will also contest the individual semi-finals on Saturday.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for the Iraqi squad as big medal hope and World Cup silver medallist Fatimah Almashhadani went out to Sri Ranti of Indonesia in the 1/16 eliminations. Her sister Rand is shooting in the recurve eliminations tomorrow.
I wrote earlier this year pondering if the Korean team intended to dominate compound archery as they do recurve archery, and it seems to be coming to pass. Korea took all recurve golds available in the last two Asian Games, and have stated they hope to win between four to six golds here from the eight available in recurve and compound. Senior coach Jang Yung-Sool said, in typical Korean style, “All our archers are in good form, but I have advised the athletes to avoid excessive excitement because there are more events to prepare for.”
Full results can be found here. The shoot continues with the recurve team and individual eliminations tomorrow.
Brief YouTube news piece about the world record here.
Early-doors picture of the Gyeyang Asiad Archery Field via Fivics Korea:
INCHEON, Korea: The Asian Games recurve ranking rounds were completed today. Both men and women shot a two-day full FITA round to decide the ranking – a decision of the KAA which contrasts with the now normal 70m ranking round in World Archery sanctioned international competition.
The full results are here. No particular surprises as to who came top – the Korean men’s team qualified one-two-three-four with Lee Suengyun taking top honours with 1377. Oh Jin-Hyuk and Ku Bonchan were tied for second place with 1362 points, but the Olympic champion advanced on total tens scored (although he shot less X’s). This means that Oh and Lee will contest the individual competition, as the rules only allow for two per country per gender; all three will contest the team competition. Kim Woojin shot 1353, good enough for fourth place but not good enough to make either the team or the individual knockout stage.
In the women’s competition, a Korean one-two-three means Jung Dasomi and Chang Hye-Jin will advance to the individual competition with scores of 1364 and 1359. It appears they will be joined in the team event by “elder sister” Joo Hyun-Yung, who only qualified 13th but squeezes Lee Tuk-Young out of the team event on previous results under the complicated KAA rules. Jung Dasomi was sanguine about the system in place, which sees at least one team member squeezed out for good. “The individual result doesn’t matter. Whoever goes out there to fight (as the team), we will give it everything.”
The main challengers to the Koreans for medals here are China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and India, who all recorded top ten placings. Indian superstar Deepika Kumari placed a strong 8th, but the rest of the Indian women’s recurve team floundered and the team only managed fifth place. Top Malaysian pro and World Cup medallist Khairul Anuar Mohamad managed a strong sixth place in the men’s competition.
The compound individual and team eliminations start tomorrow, just after midnight here in Europe. There have already been controversies over the venue, but now there are further fears about the weather disrupting the competition, with Typhoon Fung-Wong battering parts of the east Asian coast and currently approaching south Korea. According to the organisers, the competition will go ahead unless “the target cannot be seen or the target is knocked over by wind and rain.” [waahh! – Ed] Although Chang Hye-Jin was noticably bullish about the situation after the ranking round: “I hope the wind blows harder tomorrow.” she said.
Incheon: South Korea`s wealthy archery association has taken matters into its own hands by hastily upgrading an Asian Games venue and providing its own meals following a number of complaints.
The association said it was spending tens of thousands of dollars putting up a giant TV screen and covering the archery venue`s media area, which was open to the elements.
The body is also providing meals to officials and volunteers, claiming lunchboxes given by organisers — who have already suffered a salmonella scare — were out of date.
“The new awning has been put up over the media zone and construction is still underway to put up a giant screen on the left side of the arena,” a spokeswoman told AFP Tuesday.
“We are spending several tens of millions of won for the project. There were complaints from reporters that it was impossible to see computer monitors and even see the giant screen on the right side, due to sunlight.”
She said the archery body took action after its chairman, Kia boss Chung Eui-Sun, heard complaints about the new Gyeyang Asiad Archery Field.
“We decided to fund the project ourselves since we understood organisers had no additional budget allocated for such new project,” she said.
“We thought the project was necessary given South Korea`s status as an archery powerhouse… we just wanted to provide better experience for archery lovers and did not want to cause any trouble with organisers.”
Games organisers have explained the lunchboxes were not out of date but mislabelled, and that they are now giving cash instead of meals to workers on the site.
They added that they spent about $180,000 building the venue at the request of the archery association, which did not ask them to make any additions.
Organisers had to dump dozens of lunchboxes prepared for athletes after they detected food poison salmonella.
Archery is likely to be a big Asian Games medal-winner for South Korea, who won three out of four Olympic golds at London 2012.
This is crazy. I literally can’t imagine this happening anywhere else. I have no idea who specced out the field or how it ended up like that, but it certainly appears to be an enormous loss-of-face by the organisers – and an indication of how much power is wielded by the KAA with Kia & Hyundai’s backing behind it.
From 11th – 14th September 2014, various venues in London played host to the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event based on the annual Warrior Games for injured servicemen. Nine sports were featured: the archery event on Thursday had recurve and compound individuals in novice and open categories, as well as a team event. Invictus is Latin for ‘unconquered’, and the games take this name after the famous poem of the same name by William Henley, which features the final lines ‘I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.’
The archery finals were held in Here East in the Olympic Park, which was previously the media and broadcast centre for London 2012. Many of the athletes had not previously been involved in any of the contested sports, and have taken part in accelerated programs building up to this event. As Steven Gill, a recurve para-archer puts it: “Sport is a massive element of rehabilitation. If you can get that buzz, you’re doing a good thing”. How did you get involved? “I played wheelchair basketball and I was doing a school session with some kids, there was an archery have a go. I popped a few in the gold straightaway, so… Some of the most inspirational people aren’t here on stage, they’re the people who have managed to make the quarters or whatever, from absolutely nothing, after just three months.” Steven, who lost most of his legs and an eye to an IED in Belfast two decades ago, is actually right-handed, but has to shoot left-handed because of his injuries. Despite shooting for just eleven months, he manages to take bronze.
The recurve gold medal match was contested between Britons Gary Prout and David Hubber, with Hubber taking the gold. Afterwards, he exhorts a photographer to get his wheelchair wheels into a picture: “Yes, the other side says “I am the captain of my soul”.” Hubber was a corporal who got injured around 2002 playing ice hockey for the Army. Also involved in wheelchair basketball, he has been shooting for fourteen months, introduced to the sport by the Battle Back programme. “I honestly didn’t know it was this good!”. Ironically, David had learned a lot of what he knows about the sport from Gary Prout, whom he beat in the final. “To beat him was a bit humbling, really. I thought he’d wipe the floor with me, but he just didn’t have it on the day. In the final I was quite surprised how nervous I was. I deal with that by laughing at the situation. I was chuckling so hard, I had to take a breath to compose myself. ”
What does involvement in sport mean to you? “The whole point of the Invictus Games is to prove to servicemen that it can be done. I didn’t expect to make it this far. I didn’t expect to win. It’s not about the winning for me, it’s about proving to people that it can be done, because there are a lot of people out there doubting their own ability.”
Did you take anything from your Army career into the sport? “Well, archers call it shooting, the Army calls it firing, and never the two shall meet.” He was a serious rifle shooter. “I was lucky enough to turn down an opportunity to go to Bisley at one point. It’s quite a simple proposition if you think about the principles”. It turns out the British (and the U.S.) Army break down shooting into ‘four principles of marksmanship‘, many of which are directly transferable into archery. It is even recommended that the final trigger squeeze should ‘take you by surprise’, which has a direct parallel with the ‘surprise release’ recommended by many coaches.
L-R: Gary Prout, David Hubber, Steven Gill
Silver medallist Gary Prout is from Northern Ireland; he is a bombardier in the Royal Artillery. Awarded a CGC in Afghanistan, he was injured on a later tour there and further injured when training recruits in Scotland. He has been shooting on and off for over 20 years, and represented N.I. as a junior. His dream was to represent N.I. at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, but his injury put paid to that. “The Invictus Games has stepped in exactly where that was. The coaches have worked around my issues. We changed a lot of things with my technique, and I managed to get to a level where I was shooting competititvely with guys around me. I had my shoulder rebuilt in 2010, although it’s still not quite there. I don’t have quite enough mobility to finish off the shot.”
He also credits his return to the sport to Battle Back, a Help For Heroes initiative, and his experience meant he was made captain of the GBR recurve team. “You’ve got people injured from all over the place, people with psychological issues. It’s brought everyone together. It’s given us all a focus. I keep my fingers crossed and I pray that someone’s going to take this up and continue, and it’s going to be hosted by all the other nations. Everybody is overwhelmed by the reception we’ve had. Some of the guys on the archery team were suffering from PTSD, they weren’t leaving their houses, proper folded in on themselves. The first couple of times at the sessions, you could see them developing, coming out of that. We’re gonna try and keep the Invictus umbrella over the top of ourselves, keep it going, get some new talent in and develop that there. The response from the public has been absolutely brilliant.”
Roger Hack, of the Netherlands, who finished fourth in the recurve contest.
The archery programme has been very popular. Why do you think that is? “From a rehabilitation point of view, it’s a very inclusive sport. People in the armed forces love it; we love shooting, being accurate. There’s a lot of other things that people can get involved in, but the archery has appealed to so many. There’s a big span of ages and injuries. Injuries don’t come into it. You’ve got people shooting who don’t have arms, who are using their mouths. It reminds you how fortunate you are sometimes.”
He also uses his rifle experience in the sport. “I shoot small-bore for the army. I used to shoot operationally for the Royal Artillery. It’s all the same kind of principles. With rifle shooting it’s ‘position and hold’, ‘shot must be released and followed through’, so if you drop your forward arm, that’s it gone. ”
All the archers on the podium are hoping to go to Rio for Team GB. As Gary Prout says: If I get the mobility back in my shoulder I’ll go for it. At the moment I’ll get punished for my technique outdoors.” The final word comes from David Hubber: “I like the fact that it’s you and you alone. Even as a team, you are still an individual. You’ve got nobody to blame for failure. Whatever I’m achieving, at the other end of my shot, is all down to me. With the influence of guidance from others, but right there, it’s me. ”
Thanks to Chris Wells for getting me in and Jack Skelton for helping me out.
Ki Bo Bae watch (slight return)… promoting Samsung ultra high definition monitors, with some other sharp-eyed types: pistol shooters, gamers, and whatever that guy in the clogs does. A gigantic multi-national firm using an archer to promote its products? Wow.
And there’s more. The Japanese ladies recurve team administered a thrashing to the mighty Korea in the team finals at the Asian Grand Prix, the last big tournament before the Asian Games. Japan have been producing strong results for some years now but it’s a great lesson in confidence – for both teams. Watch and enjoy:
More Japanese archery, this one via Ronin Dave over on his blog. Apparently: “on August 4th, a Japanese archery meet is held on the shores of Lake Chuzenji near Nikko, two hours north of Tokyo. Archers gather to shoot at folding fan targets attached to small boat masts. Ogi no Mato comes from a legendary archery incident over 800 years ago when a samurai archer shot a fan off of a boat mast in response to a challenge from his enemies.” LOVE the mega-weird mannequin.
There’s embedded English commentary. Watch and learn:
He also shares a shot of a dragonfly sitting on the tip of a bow. That’s got to be lucky, right?
Spotted outside the J Crew store at the Biltmore Shopping Center in Phoenix, AZ by my friend Jen Turrell (who runs an amazing blog about autism and how it affects families) because she was ‘getting a new battery put in my Mac across the way’.
When I started this archery blog, I wasn’t quite intending it to be a catalogue of the gradual assimilation into mainstream culture of archery motifs, although there’s been quite a lot of that. It seems to be a strange mix of simple cultural shorthand – the use of arrows and targets has long been used as a visual business metaphor – along with the now familiar sexing-up of archery in the last year or so, plus the fact that, of course targets and arrows and bows simply look awesome.
I actually quite like what they’ve done with the colours above, which remind me slightly more of RAF roundels than FITA targets. But I’m always a bit uneasy about the casual, shopping-mall, sell-some-chinos assimilation of archery. It’s better than that, isn’t it?