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Top 10 archers to watch out for at Tokyo Olympics

Published at :July 18, 2021 at 11:34 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : world archery)


The mixed team event is all set to make its debut in the 2020 edition of the quadrennial games.

Archery will be one of the most intriguing sports at the Tokyo Olympics. There will be five different events: men's individual, women's individual, men's team, women's team and mixed team. A total of 128 athletes, 64 men and 64 women, top archers will compete in these events at the Tokyo Olympics.

Yumenoshima Park will be the site of the archery events at the Tokyo Olympics. With compound archery still to be a part of the Olympics, all eyes will be on the recurve archers who will gather in Japan from all over the world.

Let's take a look at the top 10 archers to keep an eye out for during the Tokyo Olympics.

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10. Alejandra Valencia

One of the most talented female archers to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics, Alejandra Valencia announced herself by winning two gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games. She was only 17 when she won these medals back then. The following year, she qualified for London 2012 and reached the last 16 in her maiden appearance.

Four years later in Rio, she advanced to the semi-finals. Her progress continued after she claimed two more gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Games. This season, she has been consistent in all formats - claiming podium finishes in the individual, team and mixed events at the Archery World Cup.

Now 26 and seemingly in her prime age, this will be the best opportunity for the Mexican to bag an Olympics medal.

9. Ruman Shana

Ruman Shana’s appearance in Tokyo Olympics will be the result of an incredible breakthrough at the 2019 World Archery Championships, where he won an individual bronze medal. Shana astonished the archery world by knocking out some of the biggest names in the sport: Kim Woo-jin, Sjef van den Berg and Mauro Nespoli.

Shana proved it was no fluke by taking the individual gold medal at the Asia Cup in the Philippines. The pandemic derailed his momentum just like many others. However, back in action in 2021, he reached another final at the Archery World Cup in Lausanne, taking a silver medal in the mixed team event with Diya Siddique.

The 26-year-old is eager to continue his personal rise to glory while simultaneously putting Bangladesh on the archery map. Shana is the first-ever Bangladeshi archer to qualify for the Olympics and has the potential to script a fairytale run in Japan.

8. Atanu Das

Atanu Das
Atanu das has been in good form recently (Photo Credit- World Archery)

2021 has been the year in which Atanu Das has finally lived up to his potential. After years of near-misses, he has recently claimed two gold medals at the Archery World Cup. The first of those came in the individual event in Guatemala City, followed by a mixed team victory in Paris. It makes him one of the top archers at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 29-year-old is all set to make his second Olympics appearance. A good run of form has propelled him into the top 10 of the world rankings. Das maintains a perfect balance of focus and aggression on the field, factors which could be key for him in Tokyo.

The Indian archer has also worked on his mental strengths in the last couple of years. A medal at the Tokyo Olympics is not out of the equation and if Das can deliver his best, it might as well turn out to be a game-changing moment for archery in India.

7. Lei Chien-ying

Lei arrives at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as the reigning recurve women’s world champion after winning the World Archery Championships in 2019. But with Chinese Taipei choosing to forego the international season in 2021, in favour of preparing for the Games themselves, her standard right now is somewhat unknown.

Tokyo will almost certainly be Lei’s last Olympics, with funding for athletes tied to their extended university careers. For years, the story has been the same. Chinese Taipei’s recurve women being the eternal bridesmaids, always in second place behind South Korea.

However, things might change in Tokyo. Lei Chien-Ying will be hoping for exactly that and to be at the forefront of that change.  

6. Mete Gazoz

Mete Gazoz is one of the finest young archers who will take part in the Tokyo Olympics. Just like at Rio 2016, Gazoz left qualifying until the last minute in 2021, booking his ticket at the European Championships.

His ticket to Tokyo Olympics was finally booked at the penultimate qualifier – for European nations – on home soil in Antalya. The World No. 4 will look to further confirm the lofty expectations set for him when he competes in the second Olympics of his young career.

Gazoz certainly has the potential to perform on the biggest stage. He will be aiming to step up and deliver at the right time and claim glory for his nation.

5. Kang Chae-young

Kang Chae-young is one of the favourites to win the gold medal (Photo Credit- World Archery)

In just her debut Olympics campaign, Kang Chae-young is tipped to be one of the favourites for gold in the women's event. However, World No. 3 will have to deal with immense weight on her shoulders, coming from a country that has a rich history in the sport.

Kang had retained the top spot for almost two years until the Koreans lost ground in the rankings due to inactivity owing to the pandemic. Nicknamed 'The Destroyer', she remains the only recurve woman to have ever broken 690 points on the 72-arrow 70-metre qualifying round.

The 25-year-old had failed to make the cut for Rio 2016. Ever since that, an air of unfinished Olympic business has hung over her career. However, Kang’s greatest asset is relentless consistency, the product of incredible mental discipline that keeps her producing results at the highest possible level. She will be aiming to break new ground and claim glory at the Olympics.

4. Lisa Barbelin

The archery world has seen the meteoric rise of Lisa Barbelin. The reigning European champion will arrive in Tokyo full of confidence.

A tall left-hander with a classical technique, Barbelin is noted for her ambition and focus on the line. The 21-year-old Frenchwoman is also adept at maintaining her focus to come back in matches.

World No. 2 Barbelin is keen to end that wait and revitalize the French archery machine.

3. Kim Woo-jin

The archer is currently ranked fifth in the world (Photo Credit- Twitter)

Kim Woo-jin will not only be pushing for gold but also be aiming to reclaim the world record that he had set at Rio 2016. His mark of 700 in the men’s recurve archery was broken by Brady Ellison at the 2019 Pan American Games.

The South Korean archer, currently ranked fifth in the world, will try to set a new benchmark at the Tokyo Olympics. However, the 29-year-old has not competed in international events due to Korea's strict quarantine measures.

However, It should not be much of a concern for Kim. He had won team gold at Rio 2016 and will be hoping to replicate that performance in the individual event.

2. Brady Ellison

Currently number one in the world, Ellison is enjoying the best time of his long international career. The 32-year-old set a new world record in 2019 and is taking momentum into the Tokyo Olympics as he targets his first Olympic gold.

The American is archery’s most consistent international competitor since 2010. He recently secured back-to-back victories at the second and third stage of the Archery World Cup in Lausanne and Paris respectively.

Tokyo will be Ellison’s fourth Olympics. The table is set for him to carry the success and finally translate it into Olympic gold. 

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1. Deepika Kumari

Archery deepika
The Indian archer is ready to clinch the glory (Photo Credit- World Archery)

Deepika Kumari, whenever in form, is thrilling to watch: precise and single-minded. Recently, she has developed more resilience to her performance and seems to have solved a few technical and mental issues. The top-ranked recurve woman in the world enters the Tokyo Olympics with only one thing on her mind. This will be her third Olympics appearance but it feels different from before.

The 27-year-old is in the form of her life. She has bagged two individual Archery World Cup gold medals in 2021. Added to that, a mixed team gold medal with Atanu Das in Paris in June 2021. India is yet to win an Olympic medal in archery and Kumari represents the best chance to change that.

Thus, Kumari is better, more confident and perhaps the most in command of her abilities she has ever been. Brimming with an abundance of talent and the experience to match, she will be looking to finally deliver on that immense potential in Tokyo.

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