Looking back at Berlin 2019

The Berlin Open is one of the more respected indoor tournaments in Europe.

Running since 2012, it has moved venues – and management teams – more than once.

There is now ambition here to be one of the major indoor tournaments in the world. They certainly have the city for it; one of the world’s most enduringly fascinating, and they also now have the venue; the Horst Korber sports hall in the west of the city, in the shadow of the clocktower of the famous Olympiastadion.

The hall is modern and benefits from good lighting and configurability: a finals field is able to be screened off from the qualification arena, despite being part of the same space.

There is potential for world-beating here, however, this year’s competition was held at the same time as the Roma Archery Trophy stage of the indoor World Series, which limited the attendance of the world’s elite. 

Fixture clashing aside, the competition saw many of the best in Germany and across Europe take part, along with a single elite Korean archer: veteran Gu Dong Nam, who finished in the top eight in the indoor series finals in Las Vegas in 2019.

A previous lone Korean, minor Olympic legend Jang Yong-Ho, competed and won this same tournament a couple of years back. However, Gu was beaten in the 1/8 match, 6-2, by eventual winner Heiko Keib, who despite only qualifying in 15th place with 567 maintained consistently high matchplay scores to push through the bracket and eventually to defeat Stephan Arend, also of Germany, in a top-level final.

In women’s recurve, Dutch international (and occasional Bow columnist) Claire van Dijck finished in the top spot. van Dijck, the second seed, defeated first seed Malgorzata Sobieraj of Poland. 

The para competition featured an open W1 class with both men and women competing together, this included multiple Paralympic medallists such as Jessica Stretton and David Drahoninsky, who eventually finished third, beating Phoebe Pine by a single point, behind Nathan MacQueen (GBR) and winner Marcel Pavlik, of Slovakia, who dominated the competition. 

GBR were well represented in the compound competition as well, eventually won by eighth seed Simon Scott, who survived two shootoffs in matchplay to take the win over German Lars Klingner. Susan Corless and Iulia Petra also finished in the top ten. 

The Berlin Open was well-organised with an improving finals production, and definitely now has the venue to become one of the great tournaments on the circuit, with Berlin a magnet for tourists. If they can find the right spot on the calendar, the sky is the limit.

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