Sport week: Introduction to para-archery

Here is a brief overview of the sport that has appeared in every Paralympics. 25 Apr 2016 By Emily Bayci | For the IPC

Para-archery was the first sport where wheelchair athletes had organised competition and was one of the original Paralympic sports. It is also one of the sports with the most similarities to its able-bodied counterpart. Thus, athletes are able to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics if they meet the qualification standards.

Para-archery is open to athletes with physical impairments who may shoot with assistive devices allowed under classification rules. The sport tests accuracy, strength and concentration. It includes specific competition categories for athletes with certain classifications: W1, compound open and recurve open. A dedicated article on classification in para-archery will be posted on later this week.

In para-archery, the target size and distance archers stand from the target differs based on the competition category. In individual events, archers shoot 72 arrows at the 10-circle target, divided into 12 ends of six arrows each. Each athlete is allowed four minutes per round. The top-scoring athletes advance to 15-arrow head-to-head matches, which are single-elimination.

An archer using a recurve bow shoots at a target 1.22m in diameter, 70m away from the shooting line. A compound archer shoots at a target 80cm in diameter and stands 50m away.

World Archery is the global governing body of para-archery.

Rio 2016 will have nine medal events:

-Men's Individual W1

-Men's Ind. Compound Open

-Men's Ind. Recurve Open

-Women's Individual W1

-Women's Ind. Compound Open

-Women's Ind. Recurve Open

-Mixed Team W1

-Mixed Team Compound

-Mixed Team Recurve

Equipment and Quick Facts

Targets - Paralympic targets are 1.22 meters in diameter

Recurve bow - Made of limbs that curve away from the archer, a grip and a string

Compound bow - Has a system of pulleys and cables to bend the limbs, allowing greater power with less effort

Bowman - Another term for archer

Robin Hood – When an archer shoots an arrow into a bullseye, then sends the next shaft perfectly into the first

Draw - The act of pulling the bow string back to take a shot

Nock - The notch at the end of an arrow that rests against the bow string

Helpful links

Rio 2016 para-archery webpage

IPC para-archery webpage

World archery webpage

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.