Dutch recurve archer Sjef van den Berg became the first recurve archer from Europe to shoot at least 690 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round in competition when he hit the mark at the 2019 Kahraman Bagatir Spring Arrows tournament in Antalya, Turkey.
“The round was fun. I focused on rhythm and tried to push more than I was pulling. I have shot several 690s in unofficial scoring and it’s nice to break the barrier in an official competition,” said Sjef.
“I am confident that I am very good at doing what I do, but all top athletes have moments of doubt. This achievement is confirmation for myself and the technical staff I work with.”
Subject to ratification, Sjef’s score should be confirmed as a new European record as it is one point higher than the 689 shot by Italy’s Mauro Nespoli in 2012 – also in Antalya.
Only a handful of recurve archers have ever broken the 690-barrier in competition.
Kang Chae Young is the only recurve woman to have broken the mark. She shot the world record of 691 points, on the same field as Sjef’s score was recorded, at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Antalya in 2018.
Sjef van den Berg is currently ranked number 11 in the world.
He is the reigning World Archery Indoor Champion, came fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has been a regular member of the Dutch squad on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit since 2013.
Incredibly, Sjef shot this European record score while dealing with a niggling forearm issue.
“I have had a problem with my wrist this week. It’s something with an inflamed tendon but the details are unclear,” he explained.
He moved weight on his bow and started catching the grip before it fell completely into his sling. Not ideal, but good enough to shoot the best score in history by a European recurve archer.