- There are individual and team competitions for both men and women.
- The target is placed at a distance of 70 metres.
- Preliminary rounds are held to select the best 8 archers for the finals.
- In the finals, archers shoot 4 ends of 3 arrows each.
- Time is important too. The archer has a 40-second time limit per arrow.
- The target has 10 rings, from very big to the small circle in the centre.
- Each ring on the target is worth from 1 to 10 points. The smallest, in the middle, is worth 10 points.
- The winner is the archer who scores most points.
- The results of the preliminary rounds in the individual competition are also used to select teams for the team events.
- In the team competition, each team has 3 archers.
- Each team shoots 3 ends of 9 arrows each. Each archer on the team shoots 1 end.
- Team members have 3 minutes each to finish their end.
Archery? What’s that?
A sport. You use a bow, an shoot and arrow. You try to hit the target with the arrow.
Didn’t people do that 10,000 years ago?
Yes. People had bows and arrows then in Japan, the Middle East and many other parts of the world. But it wasn’t a sport. Soldiers used them in wars, and hunters used them to shoot animals for food.
Then what happened?
In the 12th century people started making guns, which were much better than bows and arrows. So archery almost disappeared.
‘Almost’? What do you mean ‘almost’?
In the 1700’s in England, medieval things became fashionable. Archery became popular again.
Is this when archery became a sport?
That’s right. Archery competitions were a great social network then. Men and women used them to meet, flirt and fall in love.
So if someone wanted to get married, it was a good idea to take up archery?
Exactly. Apparently some people thought that women looked very beautiful when they were holding a bow!
How exciting! So I suppose it was a very popular Olympic sport then?
Not really. In the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, only three countries sent archers. And they were all men. And then there were no Olympic archery competitions for many years.
Oh dear. So did archery go out of fashion again?
Well, the real problem was that every country had its own rules about archery. Archery couldn’t be an Olympic sport without international rules.
And are there international rules now?
Yes, there are. Archery became an Olympic sport again in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.
So who are the best archers in the world nowadays?
The South Koreans have dominated the sport for several years now. The current Olympic Men’s Champion is Viktor Ruban from Ukraine. And China and Britain won several gold medals in the Paralympic archery events in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.