Then & Now: Tan Ya-ting
Chinese Taipei’s Tan Ya-ting will be among the medal favourites at the 2017 World Archery Championships – just as she was seven years ago at the Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010. Here, we take a look at how she went from YOG silver medallist to world no.6.
Then…Tan Ya-ting was just 16 years old when she made the short journey across the South China Sea to compete in the YOG Singapore 2010. Already a bronze medallist at the 2008 World Archery Youth Championships, Tan had also enjoyed early success on the senior circuit – placing ninth at a World Cup event in Ogden, USA, and fourth in the Taipei City Grand Prix. Despite her impressive achievements, she faced a stern test to reach the podium in Singapore, with Republic of Korea’s Kwak Ye-Ji, already a World Cup gold medallist ranked seventh in the world, Mexico’s world number 15 Marianna Avitia, already an Olympian from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, and Russia’s Tatiana Segina, the reigning Youth World Champion.
Tan proved her talents, however, by placing second in the ranking round – beaten only by Kwak’s world junior record score – and advanced to the semi-finals by defeating Aya Kamel (EGY), Begunhan Elif Unsal (TUR) and Jia Song (CHN).
She faced Segina in the final four and got off to a shaky start scoring only 6 with her first arrow, handing the advantage to her Russian opponent who took the opening set 28-26. Tan recovered superbly to shoot 10-10-10 as she won the second set, and went on to claim a 6-2 victory in the match.
The gold medal match saw Kwak make the perfect start, firing 10-10-10 to take the first set, before Tan responded with her own faultless display to win the second. Another perfect set from Kwak in the third, followed by 29 in the fourth, proved too much for Tan, who was proud to claim the silver medal.
"I am very, very happy, although I feel sorry for my family and friends that I didn't bring the gold medal home,” she said afterwards. "It was very fun. I had a good feeling throughout the competition and I really enjoyed it."
Tan has gone on to establish herself as one of the finest female archers on the global circuit and is currently ranked sixth in the world. Just two years after competing in Singapore, she stepped up to the senior Olympic stage at the Olympic Games London 2012 – finishing ninth in the individual event and fifth in the team event – and she has since enjoyed several medal-winning performances at World Cups. Tan also won mixed team bronze at the 2013 World Championships and was then one of 12 YOG alumni to compete in last year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
“From the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, and then my first Games in London, I took the experience to feel more relaxed here in Rio,” she said. “Now I know the environment and what’s happening every day. Back in 2010, I thought the Games were an opportunity to tell myself to ‘never give up’, but for Rio, I improved it to ‘never give up and challenge yourself’.”
That attitude certainly paid off for Tan, as she won bronze in the team event – one of an incredible 80 medals won by YOG athletes in Rio. Now, she will be eyeing even more success at next week’s Archery World Championships.