The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships are less than two months away. Important – not just because of the world titles that are available, but because they act as the primary qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – the 50th edition of the biennial event is shaping up to be the largest in history.
Three stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup will take place before the worlds in ’s-Hertogenbosch, in the centre of the Netherlands.
So before that begins, and we’re all distracted by who is actually performing on the competition field, here are some completely subjective predictions of who we think might lift the world champion crowns this June.
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Two-time world champion Kim Woojin remains the on-paper favourite. The man described by Brady Ellison as “the greatest of all time” should be winning everything. I’m hoping we see newer archers like Abdullin Ilfat or Thomas Chirault go deep as well.
I don’t see anyone stopping Kang, except possibly defending champion Ksenia Perova – the Russian is not usually known for making an early exit, and is capable of taking anyone by surprise.
Dodemont, the world number three, has less to lose and vast experience – and might just strike a mighty blow for older archers everywhere. Any of the top compound men could pull off a win. Schaff has had a machine-like relentlessness to his performances, but I also like Seb Peineau to mount a serious defence of his title, here.
Sjef just became the first European archer to break 690. He’s ready for the worlds and has home-court advantage. I had another Korean in Chang’s spot, but they didn’t make the team – and the Olympic Champion figures to contend.
Before leaving for Vegas, Pagni told his wife he would win. That same confidence and self-determination will factor in at the worlds. Lopez has won just about everything, except the worlds. This is her year.
Ludivine Maitre Wicki
Picking Aida may surprise, but I’ll bet on experience here. At her seventh world championships in a row, the 30-year-old knows what it takes to win big prizes.
Is Wijler mature enough to make the leap? He’s been outstanding over his young international career thus far.
Schaff winning the worlds would unite the Hyundai Archery World Cup, Indoor Archery World Series and World Archery Championship crowns. That would be some achievement.
Korea hadn’t won a compound world crown until 2015 but has held the individual women’s title ever since. I’ve picked So Chaewon, but Copenhagen winner Kim Yunhee or former international recurve archer Choi Bomin could also easily do it.
Chang will return to right the wrong of 2017 when she ended up with a disappointing silver medal.
Brady has been open about his injuries and, although they have affected his shooting, he has maintained a decent level. Kim Woojin is a favourite, but Ellison is rounding into the kind of form that will see him lift his coveted world trophy.
I’d also like to see Steve Wijler or Sjef van den Berg in the final since they’ll be shooting at home.
As long as Mike Schloesser avoids tiebreakers, which he only wins one in three times, he’ll take a second career world title.
Sara has something of a personal vendetta against the world title – and is determined to win it this year. She’ll have to put in a lot of work to better handle the nerves that have cost her not making the finals at previous editions.
Being Dutch, I have to pick local. Common sense tells me that Wijler is the man to beat heading into 2019.
Any of the Korean recurves could win – but my gut says Lisa Unruh will be women’s champion. She’s always been a tough contender and has grown enormously in the mental aspect of the game. She’s the complete package.
Compound men is the toughest of the categories to predict.
Sara Lopez is always a favourite but I think So Chaewon, who lost to Lopez head-to-head in Vegas, is ready for the big one, this time.
Sara Lopez is no longer the teenager who broke the boundaries of what it meant to win in the division. She’s at the sweet spot in her career, experienced and consistent – and exceptional.
After winning two world championship crowns in the mixed team event, Kim Jongho deserves a shot at the individual title. He’s been the most consistent of the Korean compound men – and has the best chance against Mike Schloesser, Kris Schaff, Seb Peineau and the others likely to feature in the business end of negotiations in Den Bosch.
I am a big fan of Mete Gazoz.
He’s talented, makes shooting his bow look effortless and is a nice guy. He’s just found a new level to his scores (see 698-point ranking round) and right now might be his best opportunity to win the worlds… before he stops and thinks about it too much.
Gaby doesn’t have the winning pedigree that others, like the Koreans or Ksenia Perova, do. She doesn’t have the scores of the top recurve women. But her winning in ’s-Hertogenbosch feels kind of right, doesn’t it?
She was born in Mexico, missing the last worlds in Mexico City while moving to the Netherlands, and has since already done more on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit than any Dutch recurve woman before her.
There’ll be at least one winner at these worlds wearing an orange shirt. One winner will be somewhat unexpected.
This pick is a two-in-one.
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.