Para archery has a long history in the Paralympic Movement, having been part of every Games since Rome 1960. But there is more to one of the âoriginal eightâ.
1. On July 29, 1948, the opening ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr Sir Ludwig Guttmann – founder of the Paralympic Movement – organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes, which he called the Stoke Mandeville Games. They involved 16 wounded soldiers and women who played a sport – archery.
2. Three-time Paralympian Antonio Rebollo fired a flaming arrow to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. A few weeks later, at the Paralympic Games, the Spaniard won a silver medal in the men’s team event.
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3. Zahra Nemati became Iran’s first Olympic or Paralympic gold medalist when she won the classic women’s wheelchair event in London 2012. Four years later, she qualified for the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio. She was named Iran’s flag bearer at the Olympics opening ceremony, where she finished 33rd and then defended her Paralympic title.
4. The sport was governed by the International Paralympic Committee until 2009, when World Archery became the international para-archery federation. This meant a transfer of ownership of the rules, promotion and regulation of the World Championships and responsibility for Paralympic Games events.
5. Para archers compete using recurve and compound bows. A recurve bow is the modern evolution of traditional bows. As its name “re-curve” suggests, the limbs placed at the top and bottom of the arc move away from the archer at each point. The compound bow uses a pulley and cable lever system, which makes it faster and more precise than other types of bows. Although used at the Paralympic Games, compound bows are not part of the Olympic program.
6. Classification is a system that provides a level playing field for athletes with a disability. In para archery in particular, it determines whether an athlete is eligible to compete in the sport, can use an assistive device and which sport class (open or W1). The open class includes both standing and wheelchair athletes, archers position themselves at a 90 degree angle to the target and can use body support. W1 athletes can use either bow limited to 45 lbs in pulling weight and without a magnifying sight.
7. There are nine medalist events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including W1 Individual (Men / Women), Individual Compound – Open (Men / Women), Recurve Individual – Open (Men / Women), Team W1 (Mixed), pulley by team – open (mixed) and team recurve – open (mixed).
8. The distance and size of the target differs in each category of the event. In W1 events, an 80cm target is used at a distance of 50m. Compound events use a 48cm target at a distance of 50m. Recurve bow events see a 122cm target at a distance of 70m.
9. In the preliminary round, athletes receive a ranking based on their total score of 72 arrows and then advance to the playoff round. The correspondence format then differs between the categories.
ten. In classic events, five-set matches are played in individual events, with each set awarding two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. A total of six points or more is required to win. Mixed events are played as four-set matches, in which points are awarded in the same way as individual events. A total of five or more points for a pair is required to win.
In the individual compound and W1 events, three arrows are thrown in each end (for a best score of 30 points) and the athlete with the highest total score after five ends (for a best score of 150 points) is the winner. In mixed events, four arrows are thrown in each end (two per person for a best score of 40 points), and the team with the highest total score after four ends (for a best score of 160 points) is the winner.