1. Kang Chae Young, Korea (previous rank: 1)
Korea continues to receive the benefit of the doubt with regards to its decision to forgo all three stages of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup. Even if she’s lost her world number one ranking due to international inactivity, Kang is still the woman to beat when the world’s best converge on Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Japan.
2. An San, Korea (previous rank: 2)
An San continues to impress, having qualified with the top seed at the Gwangju 2021 Asia Cup on her way to facing teammate Jang Minhee in the gold medal match (Chae Young won bronze) in Korea’s first international event in more than 12 months. The world number four could very well be the archer to extend Korea’s run of golds in Tokyo.
3. Deepika Kumari, India (previous rank: 3)
Kumari hasn’t competed since winning individual gold at the season opener, but, like her husband, a final international tournament in Paris will go a long way toward preparing her for Japan. India hasn’t been shy about its impatience to win its first Olympic archery medal, and no one will feel that burden more than Kumari. Her performance in Guatemala was so impressive, she won’t relinquish this spot without a fight.
4. Lisa Barbelin, France (previously unranked)
It would feel wrong not to include the newest world number one in our power rankings after Barbelin secured her quota place to the Olympics and won the recurve women’s title at the 2021 European Championships in Antalya. The 21-year-old from France doesn’t have the resume of the Koreans at the top of our list, nor can she match Kumari’s longevity, but she’s shot as well as anyone so far this season.
5. Wu Jiaxin, China (previous rank: 4)
Reigning World Archery Champion Lei Chien-Ying of Chinese Taipei, who has been similarly quiet in the lead-up to the Games, could have just as easily appeared here, but Wu gets the nod simply because we have more news – and it’s exceptionally positive. It will be fascinating to see how each country’s respective approach to travel restrictions this season affects who takes gold in Japan.
Dropping out: Lei Chien-Ying, Chinese Taipei (previous rank: 5)
Worth watching: Svetlana Gomboeva, Russia; Michelle Kroppen and Lisa Unruh, Germany; Casey Kaufhold and Mackenzie Brown, USA; Alejandra Valencia, Mexico.