The archery world was stunned yesterday when world number one Kim Woo-jin crashed out of the Olympics in just the second round at the hands of an unheralded Indonesian who had never beaten him in several previous attempts. It blows the tournament wide open as we head into the men’s last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals on Friday.
Kim had just celebrated winning the men’s team event with South Korea, head and shoulders the world’s best country for archery. The day before he had set a world record 72-arrow in the ranking round. He was on course to win the men’s tournament easily, with all of South Korea predicting a clean sweep of gold medals from archery. But Indonesia’s Riau Ega Agatha rose to the challenge and beat the favorite betting pick 6-2 on a windy afternoon at the Sambodromo.
It leaves the USA’s Brady Ellison – a member of the American team that lost the final to South Korea – as the highest ranked seed left in the tournament. Ellison, dubbed the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Olympics due to his likeness to the Oscar-winning actor, beat best friend and compatriot Jake Kaminski 6-2 to advance to the next round. He is around the +450 mark for betting odds to win gold, but he will have to get past a formidable duo of South Koreans.
There is no overwhelming favorite since world number one Kim crashed out, but his teammates Ku Bon-chan and Lee Seung-yun are still in it and will give Brady Ellison the fight of his life as he bids to win gold. Ku is now the outright favorite at +350 after his starring role in South Korea’s victory over the USA in the team event. Kim was great, and Lee was very good too, but world number two Ku was even better than both of them. He finished off the US title bid with six perfect 10s, each heralded by a thunderous loudspeaker and a hollering crowd – but Ku was oblivious to that pressure and held his nerve perfectly, and if he can keep that form up he will take some beating.
Lee is next at +500, followed by Dutchman Stef van den Berg at +650. The winner will most likely come from this group of four, but there is danger across the field, which is more open than we have seen for many a Games. Kim’s conquerer Agatha is all the way back at +5000. World number four Jean-Charles Valladont looks great value at +1400. It promises to be an exciting tournament for fans and by the close of Friday we will no who the finalists are. It should be a great day of archery with close fought contests throughout.
But when all the dust has settled and all the smoke has cleared, a South Korean will probably be in the final. They are not as dominant in archery as the South Korean women are, but they still have a great record and their performance in the men’s team final showed how superior they are. Ellison, Kaminski and Zach Garrett shot well but still lost 6-0. In the quarter-finals they also beat van den Berg’s Netherlands 6-0. Since the departure of Kim, Ku is their shining hope. They won gold in the women’s team event as well as the men’s, and they look in great shape to win individual gold in the women’s half of the tournament, so Ku or Lee can reinforce their dominance over the sport by making it a clean sweep. Ellison is the man most likely to stop them and should be good for a medal, but right now it is very hard to look past Ku for the gold.