South Korea's three-time Olympic archery champion An San will not be at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

Last Monday, the South Korean was excluded from the team for the Paris Games after failing to qualify in the top 16 of the 24 competitors. The Asian nation is a global powerhouse in the sport, particularly in the women's team even.

An San won't be taking part in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. This leaves her national team, South Korea, without one of the greatest archers in history. At the pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2021 Games, An became the first woman since 1904 to win three gold medals in individual, team and mixed archery.

The 23-year-old was one of the favourites, but failed to make South Korea's Paris Games team at the national trials on Monday. She didn't make it into the top 16 of the 24-strong field. An won individual silver at the 2023 Asian Games and was part of the women's team that won gold in Hangzhou, China. All the signs were that she would be in her national team. So it was a bit of a surprise.

The South Korean women's team is one of the strongest in the world. GETTY IMAGES
The South Korean women's team is one of the strongest in the world. GETTY IMAGES

The Asian country is a dominant force in world archery, especially among its female archers. They have won team gold at nine consecutive Olympic Games since the event was introduced in 1988. The sport is highly prized in the country, and as new young talents emerge, they take the place of the veterans. In An San's case, she's only 23. 

South Korean STN reported on Tuesday that "An San did not make the national team this year because she did not make the top 16," as quoted by AFP. It is a reminder that winning a domestic competition is not necessarily easier than winning an international one.

An San made headlines after her impressive performance at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics due to circumstances beyond her control after she faced sexist online abuse online from some men because of her short hair. This sparked a massive outpouring of support from outraged women.

Thousands of comments on South Korean social media, mostly from men, criticised her short haircut and accused her of being a 'feminist'. She was insulted and some even called for her to return her Olympic medals. Many South Korean women condemned the misogynistic attacks and lawmaker Ryu Ho-jeong publicly defended her.

An San studied at Gwanju Women's University. She won international medals in 2018. She won bronze and silver in two categories at the Asia Cup tournament. She won the triple crown in her first Olympic experience and she is holds the Olympic record of 680 points with 36 arrows.