LONDON  - South Korea’s archery queens assumed their traditional place at the top of the ranking round for the London Games on Friday, but the United States pushed them close and may feel this is the year to end the Asian powerhouse’s Olympic dominance. Hours after South Korea’s men set individual and world records in the 72 arrow ranking round, Ki Bo-bae, Lee Sung-jin and Choi Hyeon-ju posted 1,993 points out of a possible 2,160.

Each arrow can score a maximum of 10 points for hitting the centre of a target 70 metres away. Ki and Lee both shot 671, as did Taiwan’s Tan Ya-ting, while America’s Khatuna Lorig shot 669 in fourth. The scores gave South Korea the top team ranking, followed by the United States, Taiwan and Mexico. South Korea’s women have been the dominant force in archery for more than 20 years, winning 12 of the last 13 gold medals.

In archery, as with any sport, a team is only as strong as its weakest link and South Korea’s Choi struggled on her Olympic debut. “It was her first Olympics so she was nervous,” said coach Jang Young-sool. “She will build up her confidence and get stronger. To be in 38th after the halfway stage was not very good.

“The most important thing is the posture but because of the pressure of the Olympics she made a lot of mistakes. She was thinking about these things and that unsettled her.” The United States, under the guidance of acclaimed Korean coach Lee Ki-sik, have risen steadily up the world rankings and with five-times Olympian Lorig anchoring a team that also includes Miranda Leek and Jennifer Nichols, they are definitely in the medal hunt.

“We’re absolutely satisfied, we did really well today, some ups and downs but in general we did well,” said Lorig, who coached actress Jennifer Lawrence on how to shoot for the film The Hunger Games. “I just want to start with one shot each time and see what happens. We all want the gold medal, if not we’ll get silver, we’ll take bronze, any medal. But gold but would be good.” The women’s team finals takes place on Sunday at Lord’s Cricket Ground.