[via Gentlemen’s Essentials]
The hardest archery tournament in the world. The Korea Archery Association have finished their yearly recurve selection tournament in Donghae City, a brutal week involving six 70m rounds and three days of head to head shooting – and apparently in miserably cold and rainy conditions, too. The top eight, in order, in each gender are:
1. Kim Woojin (2011 world champion), who absolutely dominated the men’s division.
2. Lee Woo Seok (2014 Youth Olympics champion)
3. Shin Jae Hun (promising Korean cadet in 2008, fallen off the international radar for a few years)
4. Im Dong Hyun (what hasn’t he won?)
5. Oh Jin Hyuk (2012 Olympic champ, amongst much else)
6. Lee Seungyun (2013 world champion) – had the top 70m score with 695.
7. Ku Bonchan (brought home silverware last year)
8. Lee Seung Shin (seems to be new on the block)
1. Ki Bo Bae (2012 Olympic champion)
2. Jeon Sungeun (Team LH pro, Bangkok 2014 indoor champion, 2013 WA Youth champion, 2013 Vegas shoot champ too)
3. Chang Hye Jin (Team LH pro, 2014 Antalya individual champion, 2014 Asian Games team gold)
4. Choi Mi Seon (20 years old, and on the Guangzhou University team – that’s all I’ve got)
5. Heung Soo Nam (Cheongju City Hall team)
6. Lee Tuk Young (2006 and 2014 Asian Games team gold medallist)
7. Kang Chae Young (was a cadet in 2011)
8. Park Mi Kyung (last seen on the international stage in 2003!)
Archers who didn’t make the cut include veterans Yun Ok Hee and Joo Hyun Jung (who has apparently retired), and perhaps most surprisingly, Jung Dasomi, last year’s Asian Games individual champion. There are further warmup tournaments next month which narrow down the eight to a front-line four that will likely contest the big events.
The biggest story of all is the triumphant return of Ki Bo Bae, after failing to make the 2014 squad due to a shoulder injury. She had maintained considerable form, managing to shoot a 1391 FITA last year for her pro team – even though a TV news piece at the end of last year hinted she might be retiring from international archery. Also, Im Dong Hyun, who was slightly in the wilderness in 2014, has achieved a truly staggering 13th consecutive selection for the national team.
It’s an interesting mix of familiar faces, veterans and youngsters; the real ones to watch might be the young wunderkinds Choi Mi Seon, who was leading the ranking round for two days, and Youth Olympic champion Lee Woo Seok (who, rumour has it, scored 710 for a 70m round earlier this year). If they deliver this season, who would actually bet against an Olympic medal next year?
EDIT: and here they all are (via the KAA)
On New Year’s Day, the KAA reported that they had sent the entire recurve squad hiking up Mount Bulam-san in northeastern Seoul, before dawn, accompanied by the training staff. The slightly breathless journalist who accompanied this onerous publicity stunt said:
“Our National Archery Team started off the new year with a hike up Mount Bulam-san a symbol of their resolution and dedication as the world’s best. Reporter Jung Chan Lee accompanied them…. At the dawn of 2015, the archery team were the first ones up and about in the Taerung (the Korean National Training Center). After layering up for the cold (-12ºC /10ºF) at 5:30 AM, they started out in a strong gait towards Mount Bulam-san, shouting “Fighting!”.
After an hour of hiking passed, sweat drops began to form on their faces despite the frigid winds that slapped against them. “The water’s frozen,” they exclaimed.
Soon, the sky begins to light up, as does the countenances of the archery team. They have finally reached the top.
But the happiness was not to last for long as they quickly realized that there was no place to hide from the freezing winds at the top of the mountain. Such is their current stature in archery: fierce winds of rivalry storm towards them, as is the fate of those at the top of the world rankings.
Oh Jin-Hyuk said: “It is difficult to advance further when you stand at the top, but I believe that everything will turn out for the best.”
Chang Hye Jin said: “With your support and love, we will strive to defend our title as the world’s best.”
The National Team declared their year’s resolution, as they enter the world championships to compete for entry to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, in one voice: “ARCHERY IS FUN!”
They say that those who enjoy what they do can’t be beat; the national archery team resolved to the first sunrise with a joyful heart that they will protect their position at the top.”
(via Chosun TV). Thanks to Grace Kim for translation. Watch it here:
After a tournament which briefly looked like it was veering dangerously away from the script followed by previous Asiads, the recurve finals finally delivered the hoped-for ‘Golden Sunday’ for the home nation.
After the shock semi-final defeat for the Korean men’s team on Friday – the first at an Asian Games for over thirty years – they had to suffer the relative indignity of fighting it out with Japan for the bronze medal, which they won 5 sets to 3. Japan came back in the third end to tie the score, but sent down two eights in the final end to hand the Korean men the bronze and a sliver of self-esteem.
The gold medal match was contested between China and Malaysia, who had unexpectedly beaten Japan to book their place here. It was a one-sided affair that saw the Chinese men comprehensively outscore their opponents to take gold.
“We hadn’t expected that we could win so fast,” said Yong Zhiwei. “But we believed in ourselves. We had faith in the team. Mu Yong, the manager of the Chinese archery team, said: “They showed no fear at all.”
In the women’s team event, Japan beat India for the bronze medal, capping a miserable week for India’s recurves who left the competition empty-handed after their compound teammates grabbed four medals yesterday and sent India into the overall top ten.
In the gold match, the pressure was weighing heavy on the Korean ladies to beat China – particularly after their last two finals ended in defeat, and the Chinese team had beaten them in competition as recently as June. In the end, they needn’t have worried. After three tense sets that saw the Chinese archers’ form fall away – they hit the ten ring just twice – the crowd roared and Korea had their precious recurve gold, with an emotional team bursting into tears afterwards. Lee Tuk-Young said afterwards: “There’s been some incredibly hard work over the last ten months, but I’m really glad to be part of history.” She also credited ‘elder sister’ Joo Hyun-Jung, who was unable to take part in the team event due to injury, as part of the team’s success “because our hearts beat as one”, in an elegant illustration of the particularly deep emotional bond between KAA teams.
The individual competition brought another Chinese medal, as Xu Jing took the bronze medal match from Japan’s Ren Hayakawa 7-3 after being 3-1 down after two ends. In the men’s bronze match, Kuo Cheng Wei of Chinese Taipei beat Hideki Kikuchi 6-2 to finish a relatively disappointing meet for Japan’s highly consistent recurvers, who would definitely have hoped for more. Japan, along with China, were also the only major archery nations not to send a compound squad.
The women’s individual field inevitably came down to the two Koreans in-form this year, and Jung Dasomi thumped Chang Hye-Jin 7-1 in a gold medal match that saw her miss the middle just twice in twelve arrows. She finished the job with a 10-10-10 end.
The men’s gold match saw the familiar hulking frame of Oh Jin-Hyek, the Olympic champion, take on the young Chinese athlete – and apparently, ‘ladies man‘ – Yong Zhiwei, who had already won a gold medal that morning in the team event. The crowd went silent as Yong raced out to a 4-0 lead, before his form slipped and Oh reeled off three straight sets to take the title, looking relieved after a final end that saw both archers wobble. Reading from the standard Korean sporting script, he said afterwards: “I concentrated on my last shot, but I scored eight. I was fortunate to win a gold medal and I will continue to do well.”
In the end, there weren’t a great many surprises. Most of the medals went to the usual powerhouse nations, with some strong runs from Malaysia and the Philippines – plus a special mention to the quarter-final performance of men’s recurver Pak Yong-Won of the DPRK. The athletes delivered. For the home nation, the KAA pressure cooker had done its job and delivered the expected medals in their most important tournament apart from the Olympics. It remains to be seen if the KAA will continue to develop and maintain a high-level compound squad, and if the men’s performances will match the women’s in either discipline. The Asian nations have proved spectacularly strong on the international archery circuit this year, and on this outing, that looks set to continue for a long time to come.
Watch the Korea v India women’s team semifinal here.
Thanks to the dozens of news sources in many languages that helped me pull together these reports.
Does exactly what it says on the tin. (via Rose City Archery).
Well, you learn something new everyday. Belomancy is the art of divination (predicting the future) with arrows – from the Greek word belos, meaning arrow or dart. From Wikipedia:
Belomancy was anciently practised at least by Babylonians, Greeks, Arabs and Scythians…. The arrows were typically marked with occult symbols and had to have feathers for every method. In one method, different possible answers to a given question were written and tied to each arrow. For example, three arrows would be marked with the phrases, God orders it me, God forbids it me, and the third would be blank. The arrow that flew the furthest indicated the answer. Another method involves the same thing, but without shooting the arrows. They would simply be shuffled in the quiver, worn preferably on the back, and the first arrow to be drawn indicated the answer. If a blank arrow was drawn, they would redraw.
Righty ho. I can’t do clout-y distance shooting here in London, but in the spirit of experiment, I gave the second method a go. First, I put my quiver on. I marked three of my arrows with tags: ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’, and asked the gods: “Should I go and buy an ice-cream?”.
I turned away, shuffled them out of sight, dramatically drew one from the quiver, and…
...I drew ‘No.’
Now I’m sitting here without any ice-cream. Well, I’m not trying that again.
Just been reading the Rules & Regulations of Thirsk Bowmen*, an archery club in Yorkshire, England, published in 1845. Thirsk Bowmen exists today, but the current club apparently has no direct connection with the 19th century club. The committee structure, voting in, and roles and responsibilities are entirely familiar to any member of a sports or social club today. But there were some interesting sections:
1) The official ‘season’ was outdoor only and ran from the first Tuesday in May to the last Tuesday in September. Only gentlemen were allowed, and the cost per year was ten shillings and sixpence – approximate cost relative to wages in 2014: around £400. No word about indoor shooting.
2) Shooting was permitted on Tuesdays and Fridays starting at 5 o’clock. All arrows had to be marked with their owners initials or they did not score – a rule that persists in the UK and worldwide.
3) Every Tuesday archers shot nine dozen arrows – four dozen at 100 yards, three dozen at 80 yards, and two dozen at 60 yards. (A similar imperial round called a St. George, which has three dozen at each distance, is still shot in the UK). Maximum score using five zone scoring would be 972. Archers shot three arrow ends. Given that sunset in May in Yorkshire is around 8pm, they would have to get moving pretty quickly to get the round in before dusk.
4) The highest score each week would be made ‘captain of the target’, and get to hold a silver medal for the week. To encourage all archers, a handicap system existed – if you had won once in a season, you got four points removed from your score for the next and all subsequent weeks – twice in a season, eight points removed; three times, sixteen points and so on.
5) These Tuesday shoots were compulsory – unless you could prove you were at least ten miles outside of Thirsk, you were fined sixpence (relatively, about £20) for every shoot you missed! Swearing incurred a similar penalty. Turning up without all your equipment incurred a stiffer fine of a shilling (about £40).
6) Every year in September there was a ‘Grand Annual Meeting’. The highest score of the day would receive a silver bugle and the title ‘Captain Of The Year’, the best gold (nearest the centre) would receive a silver arrow and the title ‘Lieutenant Of The Year’ – and the last place finisher would receive a ‘Wooden Spoon’ and the title ‘Master Of The Green’. Yes, that’s right – archery puns haven’t improved much in the past 170 years.
7) Gambling on results was clearly a problem – the rules go into some detail about not letting betting corrupt the ‘manly amusement’, and a rule existed that any wagers discovered would have to be forfeited to club funds – although sweepstakes of up to five shillings (about £200) were allowed with prior permission of the Secretary.
*A copy of these rules sold at Bonhams in Harrogate for £192 in 2007.
Ki Bo Bae news! Her Gwangju City Hall pro team won the first “Olympic commemorative’ 31st Hoejanggi College archery competition” a couple of weeks ago, with the team racking up 4126 points in qualifying. Ki Bo Bae shot a 1391 FITA in qualifying, beating the tournament record. No one in Europe or America has ever shot that score, if I have checked correctly.
1391 and not in the national team anymore. Only in Korea. Still, good to see that comeback is still on…
Outsider-esque fantasy from Franco Nonnis.
Alejandra Valencia, 19, has been part of the Mexican recurve team since 2011. She won two gold medals (team and individual) at the Pan American Games in 2011, and qualified for the World Cup Final in Paris last year. She is currently in Legnica in Poland shooting at the World University Championships. In English y Español (véase más abajo).
How do you keep calm just before you are going to shoot?
I breathe – and then I concentrate on what I am going to do. I just focus on my technique.
Do you have any particular warmups or rituals before going to the line?
No, I only do the normal sorts of warmups, and then I just get ready!
What would you do to raise archery’s profile for the public?
It would be good to have more broadcasting of the competitions, maybe give more exhibitions in places, things like that.
Is there a version of the sport that could attract new audiences?
Well, what is happening right now with the movies that are being released, recently there was that streak where almost all the movies had someone using a bow and arrow, that helped a lot for people to get to know archery – that is going to be the thing that helps people know the sport and get interested in it.
What is your favourite sport apart from archery and why?
I like all sports, really. I can’t choose anyone in particular. Sorry! :S
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength, maybe, would be that I am very calm when I am doing things, so I don’t panic easily.
What does an ordinary day in your life look like when you are preparing for a tournament?
I go to university in the mornings and train in the afternoons, although sometimes I train in the mornings before going to school. That’s it.
What is the best advice you have given to someone else?
Hmmm… I would say “train as if you were competing and compete as if you were training.”
Do you believe in luck?
What is your favourite country you have visited through archery?
Hmmm…. I think that Holland is nice. I like Amsterdam very much, I’ve only really been there for four hours, but it’s very calm, very clean and very beautiful.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
A perfect Sunday would be to sleep late, peacefully, no homework, no worries, and being with my family in the afternoon.
Why do you keep doing it?
Why do I continue doing archery? I don’t know – perhaps because I get a lot of fun out of it, and I never get bored!
What are you drawing next? (Alejandra was drawing a new picture on her Facebook page every day)
LOL… well, that was a challenge to draw something new every 30 days, but I lost it! But I’m always drawing something, every day. I love to draw.
¿Como mantienes la calma cuando vas a tirar?
Respiro y me concentro en lo que voy a hacer, me enfoco en mi técnica.
¿Haces algún calentamiento? Kabala? Ritual?
No, solo hago el calentamiento normal y despues me alisto para tirar.
¿Qué harías para dar a conocer a dar a conocer a más personas el perfil de un arquero?
Tal vez teniendo mas difusión en cada competencia, dar exhibiciones en lugares o cosas así.
¿Hay alguna versión o algo diferente del tiro con arco que tú crees que pueda atraer a un nuevo público?
Lo que orita esta funcionando son las peliculas que estan saliendo, hace poco hubo una racha donde casi todas las peliculas tenian a alguien que usaba un arco y una flecha, eso ayudo mucho a que la gente conociera este deporte y se interesara por el.
¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito aparte del tiro con arco y por qué?
Todos los deportes me gustan, no podria elegir uno en especial :S
¿Cuál es tu mayor fortaleza?
Mi mayor fortaleza sea, tal vez, que soy muy tranquila en cuestion de hacer las cosas, no entro en pánico fácilmente
¿Cómo es un día común en tu vida cuando te estás preparando para un torneo?
Voy a la escuela en las mañanas y entreno en las tardes, a veces entreno en la mañana antes de ir a la escuela
¿Cuál es el mejor consejo que has dado?
Hmm…. yo creo que seria el de ”entrena como si compitieras y compite como si entrenaras”.
¿Crees en la suerte?
Tal vez, si.
Cuéntanos como es un Domingo perfecto para tí.
Un domingo perfecto seria dormir tranquilamente hasta tarde, sin tareas, ni preocupaciones y poder estar con mi familia en la tarde
Cuál es tu país favorito, en el que hayas estado, para tiro con arco, y por qué?
hmm… yo creo que holanda, me gusto mucho amsterdam y aunque solo estuvimos 4 horas la ciudad estaba muy bonita y tranquila, ademas de limpia
¿Qué te mantiene practicando el tiro con arco?
que me mantiene tirando? no se, tal vez sea porque me divierte hacerlo y no me aburre
¿Cuál será su dibujo mañana?
Jajaja… pues eso era un reto de dibujos de 30 días pero lo he perdido, pero yo siempre estoy dibujando algo nuevo cada día. Me gusta dibujar.
More on Alejandra:
Special thanks to Teresa Colunga De La Vega.