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China emerged victorious against a revamped women's recurve team from South Korea at the inaugural stage of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai.

Second-seeded athletes An Qixuan, Li Jiaman, and Yang Xiaolei capitalised on robust crowd support to secure a 6-2 victory over the top-seeded trio. In the individual semifinals, Jiaman faced a defeat against top qualifier Lim Sihyeon in a shoot-off. 

However, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Champion bounced back to claim bronze by defeating Lim's teammate Nam Suhyeon, securing her first individual World Cup medal.

"When I heard the national anthem during the award ceremony, I was overwhelmed with excitement," said Li afterwards. "Winning the trophy this time was a truly arduous journey. I have envisioned countless times defeating South Korea, but I never dared to imagine that these dreams would one day become a reality."

With their remarkable streak of nine consecutive Olympic gold medals in the women's recurve team event, South Korea was strongly anticipated to uphold their dominance at the World Cup. However, China's outstanding performance demonstrated that success cannot be solely reliant on reputation. The skilled trio of Li, An Qixuan, and Yang Xiaolei exemplified their capabilities right from the outset. With impressive scores of 55-54 and 56-54, they clinched victory in the initial two sets, establishing a dominant 4-0 lead.

Jiaman got ger hands on a first ecer medal at the Archery World Cup in China. GETTY IMAGES
Jiaman got ger hands on a first ecer medal at the Archery World Cup in China. GETTY IMAGES

Despite facing adversity, South Korea initiated a spirited comeback in the third set, narrowing the deficit to 57-50. Yet, it was in the crucial fourth set that China truly showcased their resilience. Despite facing immense pressure, they emerged victorious with a score of 56-55. This hard-earned triumph ultimately secured China a decisive 6-2 victory over their longstanding rivals.

Meanwhile, in other news, Nico Wiener of Austria and India’s Jyothi Surekha Vennam claimed the compound titles at the season opener of Archery World Cup. At 27 years old, he set a European record by scoring 150 points with 11Xs, surpassing under-21 world champion Priyansh and preventing an Indian sweep in the compound category on Saturday.

Ranked ninth in Shanghai, Wiener caused an upset by defeating top qualifier Mathias Fullerton, the defending  Archery World Cup Champion, with a superior 10 in a tiebreak during eliminations on Thursday.

In the semifinal, Wiener's last arrow against Yang Jaewon landed in the nine, but he advanced after another shoot-off with a better 10, leading to a more comfortable position. The final was exceptional, with Wiener delivering an impressive performance. After shooting his final arrow, the 2021 World champion erupted in celebration. Stage two of the Archery World Cup will take place in Yecheon, South Korea, in May.