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EXPLAINER: Archery at Tokyo Olympics

/ 09:35 PM July 16, 2021

Things to know about the archery competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

THE ABSOLUTE BASICS

Korea's Misun Choi shoots an arrow during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women's quarterfinal match at the Sambodromo archery venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 11, 2016.

Korea’s Misun Choi shoots an arrow during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s quarterfinal match at the Sambodromo archery venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 11, 2016. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

  •  There are three types of bow used in archery – recurve, compound and barebow. The recurve bow is the only one used at the Olympics.
  • In a recurve event, archers shoot over a distance of 70 meters at a target face which has a diameter of 122cm with the innermost 10-point ring measuring 12.2cm in diameter.
  • In the individual event, each archer shoots 72 arrows in the qualification phase, the total score of which is used to determine the rankings for the matchplay phase – where archers go head-to-head. In the matchplay phase, archers compete in best-of-five sets.
  • For individual events, three arrows constitute a set, while it is four arrows for a mixed team event and six arrows for a team event.

HOW MANY MEDALS?

There are five gold medals in total up for grabs: the men’s and women’s individual and team and the mixed team.

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WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?

South Korea swept the podium in Rio, winning gold in all four events – men’s and women’s team and individual.

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WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?

All eyes will be on United States’ three-time Olympic medalist Brady Ellison and South Korea’s female archers. One of top stars in the sport, Ellison is hoping to win his first Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games.

South Korea has won every women’s team title at the Games since it was introduced in 1988 and will be looking to make it nine successive golds in the event.

WHAT’S NEW?

In addition to the men’s and women’s individual and team recurve competitions, a mixed team event will also feature on the Tokyo 2020 program, making its Olympic debut.

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

From July 23 to July 31.

WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?

Competition officials change targets following a competition in the archery test event for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo on July 13, 2019.

Competition officials change targets following a competition in the archery test event for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo on July 13, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

The Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Archery was first included in the second edition of the Olympics in 1900 and in three more Games afterwards.

Yet too many local variations led to archery being dropped from the Olympic program. After the global body of archery was formed, the sport eventually made a return to the Olympics at Munich 1972, with recurve events being the accepted form.

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At present, 64 men and 64 women compete in the individual, team and mixed team archery program at the Olympics. The team events were introduced in 1988.

WELL FANCY THAT

Before releasing each arrow, archers must calm their heart rate, increase their concentration and overcome their nerves.

The physical and emotional tension inspires some to perform at their best while others struggle in the face of the unforgiving pressure. Wind can be kryptonite to the best of archers, with the merest breath able to send a cleanly shot arrow wide of the target.

RELATED STORIES

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PH archery Games hopefuls remain on target in Paris

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