How To Destroy A World Record

At the Antalya World Cup, Kang Chae Young of Korea broke the 70m ranking round world record, becoming the first recurve woman to shoot more than 690 points in history

Kang Chae Young with coach Choi Hee Ra

Kang scored 691 points out of a possible 720, smashing the record of 687 set by Choi Misun at the last Universiade that stood for less than a year.

This puts the women’s record just nine points – or 1.3% – behind the men’s record of 700 set by compatriot Kim Woojin. The World Archery scoring systems automatically track potential world records during ranking, and at one point she was briefly seven clear points ahead of the world record average.

Chae Young – whose nickname is “The Destroyer” – first debuted on the Korean first team in 2015, but had to suffer the agony of coming fourth in the selection process for the three member team for the Rio 2016 Olympics.  She returned to the first team in 2017, winning the Berlin stage of the World Cup and the Universiade.

Chae Young talked exclusively to Bow International about how she broke the record: “I’ve been thinking about how to develop a shot technique that would give me confidence during competitions, rather than one that would keep me focused solely on scores.”  she said.

“When I shoot with my focus on the score rather than on my technique, my form is not how I want it to be. So, when we keep score during practice, I try and shoot shots with my focus on getting as close to perfect technique as possible, just how I would want to do in competitions. In competitions generally, I think I shoot my shots a bit more passively than I do in practice. I let down more often. So I focused on not letting down in practice, because that’s not how I ‘normally’ shoot.”   

Her focus on mindset and process rather than results coincided with ideal conditions in the late afternoon, which suddenly settled down to near-perfect with the very lightest – but steady – breeze. “My coach just told me to keep shooting like myself. She helped me trust myself and keep my technique right until the end.”

Chae Young’s greatest strength of all: relentless consistency

“I shoot tens when I have good transfer of strength and a quick release. When I have both, I have good balance in my shot. I just trust in that shot feeling and don’t try and do anything else. Because I shoot best when my thought process is simple.”

“What helped me focus during the ranking round was a goal I set for myself even before the competition began. My goal was to ‘just shoot with confidence and leave without any regrets.’ I was able to shoot this competition with less nervousness than I have other competitions and was able to focus more on what I was doing.”

“I have shot high scores in practice but I didn’t expect it to happen in a competition. That score is now my record so I’m going to work hard to beat it again. If another archer shoots a better score it would be great, but I hope my record stands for a little while,” added Chae Young, laughing.

Both her explanation and the scorecard for the round reveals Chae Young’s greatest strength of all: relentless consistency. This tends to be rewarded in the Korean system which filters potential first team members over multiple gruelling selection tournaments, thus rewarding stamina over flash-in-the-pan brilliance. (Indeed, in the national trials earlier this year, she rarely finished top of the pile on any one day, but didn’t ever finish bottom either). In Antalya, the conditions, training and mindset came together to produce a perfect storm of record-breaking archery.

The three Korean women’s combined point total of 2053 broke the team ranking round world record by eight points. This record was also previously held by the Korean women’s team.

Thanks to Vanessa Lee for her assistance with this piece.

This article originally appeared in the issue 125 of Bow International magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store

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