The Dutch Olympic squad held a small recurve-only tournament, inviting archers from neighbouring Belgium, at its training centre in Papendal to coincide with the third remote stage of the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series.

It was a small event but the results highlighted something that’s likely to become abundantly clear once normal competition returns.

The world that we left in 2019 is probably not the world we will arrive back to – hopefully, in 2021 – in terms of the archers who are filling the higher rankings in the results list.

Gijs Broeksma and Laura van der Winkel stood out in wins in Papendal.

Among probably one of the most talented international rosters of recurve men, featuring the fourth-place finishers at the last two Olympic Games in Sjef van den Berg and Rick van der Ven, it was 21-year-old Broeksma who was the most impressive.

He swept world-number-six Steve Wijler in the televised final, not missing the 10-ring through four sets in the 6-2 victory.

(It mirrored Wijler’s performance at the Lausanne Invitational, the previous televised live event, where the European Champion did the same to German international Florian Unruh.)

“It was a pretty good final so I’m pretty pleased with that,” said a grinning Gijs. “Steve is quite good in my eyes, too, so I was quite nervous. It’s a super good feeling to win and a super good feeling to win here.”

Sjef, Rick and Steve won the Netherlands a full men’s quota to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the last world championships, which were held in the Dutch city of ’s-Hertogenbosch in the summer of 2019.

All three archers are currently ranked in the world top 10.

Of course, this small event in Papendal only presents a small sample size – but if Gijs’ emergence signals the addition of a fourth man in the Dutch team who cannot only keep up with but compete against and push the others, this squad has to be seen as a favourite for the Games.

While the recurve men have been a recent (and historical) strength for the Netherlands, there hasn’t always been the same world-class results from the recurve women.

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