World Championships Preview As the archery world gears up for Den Bosch, we take a look at the runners and riders
very two years, World Archery holds a target World Championships. This is the longest running international competition in target archery, and has a history going back to 1931, when World Archery was still known as FITA. It was held every year with a break for WW2 â€“ up until 1959, when it switched to every two years. The associated para-archery competition has been running since 1998 in the same years. Normally, the para competition is in a different city, but this year both competitions are being held in June in the Dutch city with the difficult name: 's-Hertogenbosch. Pronounced something like 'shertergemboss', luckily, locals and foreigners alike are happy to refer to it as Den Bosch ('den boss'). A smaller Dutch town with fortified walls and a rich history, its most notable resident was the artist Hieronymus Bosch in the 15th century. The 50th edition of the biennial event is shaping up to be the largest in history, with over 80 countries participating. The champs are important not just because of the world titles that are available, but because in the year before an Olympics they act as the primary qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Games, especially for team places. There are 56 places available; the winners of the first team match after qualification each gain a precious three Olympic places for their country - 24 men, and 24 women, as full teams. There is also a secondary tournament which qualifies a handful of single spots. Four years ago, the
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championships and qualifiers were held in Copenhagen, in a tournament beset by violent wind and rain. For many nations and squads: this is the real competition. A world title is a big deal, but in our sport, gaining an Olympic place and then competing for your country remains the reference point for the rest of the world, and the mark of an archery career. Coming home with three spots for Tokyo is, on a national level, at least as important as winning a medal and often more so. For the compounds, becoming World Champion is perhaps the pinnacle of the sport. The individual World Champions are Song Yun Soo (Korea) and Sebastien Peineau (France). Song did not make the Korean team this year and is unable to defend her title, whereas Peineau will be returning â€“ and in form. On the recurve side, the individual holders Defending recurve champion Ksenia Perova (Russia)
are Im Dong Hyun (Korea) and Ksenia Perova (Russia). Im, twice a world champion, did not make the final Korean team this year and will not be defending his title. Perova, a ferocious competitor and one of the most perennial dangers in the women's field, will be looking to take her brutal approach to archery back to the podium once more. At Bow, we decided to take a good look at some of the bigger archery nations who will be competing and what their chances might be. The sport remains dominated by Asian nations, but the results at last year's Asian Games hinted that the era of total Korean domination may be over â€“ although it's still probably unwise to go betting heavily against them. It should not be forgotten that the host nation is still highly likely to walk away with medals, particularly on the men's side of the sport in both recurve and compound.
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