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- 02. April 2008.

The Level is rising

Full stands at World Championships Leipzig 2007
Throughout the 2008 World Cup season, we will analyze some competitions statistics to prepare our audience for everyone ultimate goal: the Olympic Games. There are several important factors to look at in archery, but one thing is for sure the level is rising!

In archery, the qualification round (it can be a FITA Round with 144 arrows, a 70 meter Round with 72 arrows, etc.) could be summarized as: one has to shoot as many 10-point as possible. When it comes to elimination rounds (12-arrow matches), the game changes. Then, the archer should shoot that 10 at that particular pressure situation to beat his opponent. Therefore, a high rank in the qualifications does not guarantee that one will win his match. However, it first gives the right to play a match, as usually only the top 64 archers will enter the match bracket. Secondly, it shows that the higher ranked archers have the level to shoot consistently 10s and therefore should have the skills to shoot one when it matters the most. Finally, it should provide him with a weaker opponent for the match and therefore more chances to beat him.
We looked at the FITA Round of the last World Championships. In short, the bad news for some is that the level is rising. The good news for archery is – that the level is rising. Please find below an extract of the statistics (click here for full table) and an analysis.

Statistics on the FITA Round of World Championships 2001 – 2007
Recurve Men

Number of Participants
Average Score
Average of top 64
Top Score
64th place
Gap from Top to average
Gap from Top to 64

Recurve Women

Number of Participants
Average Score
Average of top 64
Top Score
64th place
Gap from Top to average
Gap from Top to 64

The key finding of the above tables is clearly that the average level has risen. This is even more impressive considering the fact that the number of competitors have increased by about 50% (125 to 173 for Recurve Men, 95 to 144 for Recurve Women). A greater number of archers, vastly coming from new and emerging countries, could have implied a drop in the average but that is clearly not the case in 2007.

The second key finding is that this increase in the average level comes truly from the middle of the pack. This means we cannot see a statistical increase in the very top score. The top scores have not seen a linear increase over the years. It has varied up and down. However, the average scores have had great improvements (from 1248 to 1290 in Recurve Men and from 1259 to 1292 in Recurve Women).

A deeper look in these statistics shows also that is also now more difficult to reach the top 64. The score of the 64th place has come from 1267 to 1280 for the men and from 1253 to 1279 for the women. Moreover at the last World Championships, the average score was higher than the 64th score. This means the middle archers are catching up on the top archers, and therefore the matches should be even more exciting!

Top 100 archers based on FITA Round scores in 2007

Here is a ranking by archers of the top FITA Round scores in 2007 during the Archery World Championships, the World Cup stages and the World Ranking events. Most of these performances were achieved in Leipzig. Some higher scores have been shot outside these top competitions, but they still give very interesting information.

Recurve Men
With no real surprise, the four best scores were realized by four Koreans: Lee Chang Hwan achieved 1369 points in Leipzig, and Im Dong Hyun did 1366. Im went on to take the World Championships. Im Ji Wan and Kim Yeon Chul earned 1358 and 1356 pts at the Antalya World Cup. Kim won the event there. Next we find two Italians: Nespoli with 1353 and Frangilli with 1348. They ranked respectively 5th and 4th in the overall World Cup ranking. Terry (GBR) earned himself a nice 1346. The medallist of the 92 Barcelona Games was truly on a come back year in 2007 and could be one of the story for the next Olympics. True, the World Cup winner Tsyrempilov only appears in the 24th position in this ranking. However, his 1327 pts in Leipzig was still good enough for the 16th place and a decent path to the silver medal he eventually earned.

Recurve Women
The best score of the year in the FITA events was achieved by the Olympic Champion Park Sun Hyung with 1385 points in Leipzig, en route for a silver medal at these World Championships. Her team-mate Choi Eun Young had 1374 in Antalya. Choi took the overall 2nd place in the 2007 World Cup ranking. Zhang (CHN) had 1372 at the Dover World Cup. She took second place there and the experienced Chinese is the best medal hope at the Olympics for the host country. Valeeva (ITA) has her best score in Leipzig with 1369, where she became World Champion 12 years after her first title! The 2007 World Cup winner, Banerjee (IND) is 11th on the list with her 1345 points in Dover, where she also won the event.

Compound Men
Gellenthien (USA) is the silver medallist at the Leipzig World Championships and silver medallist at the World Cup Final. He is also Indoor World Champion and has earned numerous podiums in 2007. This is not a surprise that he tops the list with 1404 points. Second on the list is no one else than the true dominator of the World Cup, Jimenez (ESA), who achieved his best score at a World Ranking events in his home town of San Salvador with 1399 points. With 1398, Damsbo (DEN) is the typical example of a young archer that can shoot great but still needs more experience in matches. He nevertheless could hold his nerves in Leipzig when he became the bronze medallist. There are only great archers following in this list with White (GBR) at 1398 pts, Willet Jr with 1393, Hofer (SUI) and Brasseur (FRA) with 1391 and Boe (NOR) with 1388.

Compound Women
A young and talented archer top the list in this category: Anschutz (USA) with 1408 points. However, she will have to show in the coming year(s) that she fares well also during the matches. Bouillot (FRA) had 1404, and although she also had some matches problem, she did come out with the bronze medal at the Leipzig World Championships. Willems (BEL) had herself a great season. Not only did she get her first 1400 points in Varese but she also put the FITA Round World Record at 1411 a couple weeks later in an international tournament. Van Natta (USA), probably the most consistent shooter over the last two years, had 1398 points. The World Cup winner, Ericsson (SWE) had 1395 in Varese, where she also won. Linda Ochoa (MEX) had 1388 in Medellin, Davis (USA) 1387 in Varese. To conclude, the Indoor and Outdoor World Champion, Salvi (ITA) had 1382 points in Antalya.

Winning is by far not guaranteed by shooting a high qualification round. However, the better archers in the long FITA Rounds or 70 meter Rounds are also the ones earning most of the medals and glory at the end of the year.
The 2008 season will offer its first winners at the World Cup Stage 1 in Santo Domingo (DOM) on 1-5 April.
Didier Miéville
FITA Communication
Statistics provided by Tom Dielen and Sergio Font
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