South Korea’s archery team for next year’s Olympic Games is starting to take shape as the selection process begins.
The trials for the Tokyo 2020 team are expected to run until the spring, but the compound categories have already been decided.
World number six Kim Jongho leads a compound men’s group that also features experienced international Choi Yonghee for his eighth successive season, alongside Yang Jaewon and newcomer Choi Eun-Kyu.
Song Yun Soo and Kim Yunhee – winners of the World Archery Championships in 2017 and 2015 respectively, will headline the women’s compound squad.
Oh Yoohyun returns to the team while So Chaewon is also involved after impressing in qualifying.
Trials for the compound team were held over three days last week at the team's national training centre in Yecheon.
A total of 97 men and 97 women was cut to 64 in each gender through 216 arrows at 70 metres in two days of recurve trials.
The following two days saw the field sliced in half, leaving just 32 recurve men and 32 recurve women in the race for Korea’s six spots at Tokyo 2020 which has been postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The highest-profile casualty came when double Olympic champion Ku Bonchan was eliminated after finishing 53rd.
Bonchan, who has not made the recurve team since winning two golds at Rio 2016, shot an average of 9.26 points per arrow throughout the trials.
The men’s top-32 cut was 9.40 with the women’s at 9.32.
Traditionally, the third and fourth phases of trials run until the spring, with the recurve team named a few weeks before the first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the season.
Whenever the selection process restarts, world number one Kang Chae Young and London 2012 champion Oh Jin Hyek will be the leaders.
Kang has never competed in the Olympics, but currently holds the recurve women’s world record for the ranking round.
He was runner-up at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships and is the reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup champion.
Rio 2016 winner Chang Hye Jin, London 2012 gold medallist Ki Bo Bae and Choi Misun – who together won Korea’s eighth consecutive team title at the 2016 Olympics – all remain in the running, as do youngsters An San, Lee Eun Gyeong and Ryoo Su Jung.
The team selected for Tokyo 2020 will attempt to better the nation’s record-setting performance at Rio 2016 where they claimed four gold medals for the first time.
There are set to be five golds available in Tokyo after the addition of the mixed team event.