Things you need to know about An San, the Olympic record-breaking archer from South Korea

The Olympic Games debutant toppled a 25-year-old record in the women's individual qualification event at Tokyo 2020.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

South Korean archer An San has blistered her way through the women's individual archery qualification round at Tokyo 2020, in 2021.

The 20-year-old scored 680 points, out of a total of 720, to break the shooting points record set by Ukranian Lina Herasymenko (673) at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Speaking to reporters after the event, the South Korean revealed her delight: “I did my best, and that led to good results. I feel nothing but happy.”

“Everything went to plan. Although there was some wind, it was totally fine. I like how I performed,” An San added.

The qualifying event is a crucial stage in the individual archery event. The total point scores are ranked from top to bottom and will be translated into seeds for match-play.

An San’s form puts her in a strong position to help South Korea’s women continue their dynasty of dominance over the Olympic team archery event.

They have not only won every team gold available since the very first in 1988, but they also hold all the Olympic records. The pressure is now on for An San and her teammates to deliver the medal their country is now accustomed to: Olympic gold.

So far things are going as planned. The Korean's women's team, which finished 1-2-3, also broke the team record with a combined total of 2032 points, dismantling their country's own record set in Beijing 2008 (2004).

That makes An San the proud owner of two new Olympic records.

So who is An San, the archer with extraordinary skill? Here's what you you need to know about the Korean phenom.

1. First girl to join newly-founded archery club at her primary school

An San’s archery journey started at a very early age but had to hustle hard to get started.

The South Korean star wanted to take up the sport when a new club formed at her primary school. However, there was no girls’ team to join.

After convincing her parents to persuade the school to let her join the team, the Games debutant has never looked back.

2- She impressed at Olympic test event in 2019

There were glimpses of An San’s record-breaking potential back in 2019.

At the Ready Steady Tokyo test event for the 2020 Olympic Games, the young archer defeated Deepika Kumari of India in straight sets, 6-0, to clinch the women’s recurve title.

On her way to the final, San beat her teammate and reigning Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin.

3- A precocious archery talent

The young South Korean star made her international debut in women’s recurve at the Berlin 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

She showed even then her propensity for the sport when she took home the gold.

Eyebrows were raised when the Korean Olympic Committee announced that Kang Chaeyoung, considered to be one of the best archers of her generation, would be joined by two Olympic rookies in An San and Jang Minhee.

But the trio have shown that experience is not always everything after they smashed the record for the women's team qualification event.

An San was similarly delighted to have contributed to her team's record breaking effort:

"It is a great honour that we have the new Olympic record. It's really a lot of responsibility, but at the same time we are enjoying the Games."


Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.