images of Archery

Paralympic Sports


Skill, concentration and nerves of steel will all be on display in this most iconic of Paralympic sports.

Tokyo 2020 competition animation "One Minute, One Sport"

We will show you the rules and highlights of archery in one minute. Whether you are familiar with archery or want to know more about it, "One Minute, One Sport" explains the sport and how it works. Watch the video below.


No sport has as great a Paralympic history as archery. Originally developed as a means of rehabilitation and recreation for people with a physical disability, it rapidly evolved into the internationally competitive sport on show at the Games today.

Archery featured at the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, the predecessor to the modern Paralympic Games, and has been included on every Paralympic programme since the inaugural competition in 1960.

The object of the sport is simple: to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible and aim for the gold ring. Athletes shoot from a distance of 50 or 70m, following competition procedures and rules that are nearly identical to those used in able-bodied competition.

Athletes compete with both recurve bows – distinctive as the limbs curve outwards at the top – and compound bows, which feature mechanical pulleys, telescopic sights and release aids to assist inaccuracy. Archery events using the compound bow are not part of the Olympic programme.

Originally, athletes were grouped into three classes depending on their degree of impairment: W1 (impairment in all four limbs, uses a wheelchair), W2 (full arm function, uses a wheelchair) and ST (in which athletes stand or sit in a chair). Currently, W2 and ST are combined as an open class at the Paralympic Games.

The use of assistive equipment or an assistant is allowed depending on the impairment, while a variety of techniques may be employed, including pulling the bowstring with the mouth.

International Federation: World Archery(Open in a new window)

Event Programme

  • Individual W1 (Men/Women)
  • Individual Compound - Open (Men/Women)
  • Individual Recurve - Open (Men/Women)
  • Team W1 (Mixed)
  • Team Compound - Open (Mixed)
  • Team Recurve - Open (Mixed)


On target for success

Archery players

There are nine events in three main categories: recurve - open, compound - open and W1, which is limited to W1 class athletes. Recurve and compound events are held with W2 and ST athletes combined, shooting recurve and compound bows respectively, while athletes competing in W1 events can choose which of the two bow types to use.

The distance to and size of the target differs in each category of the event. In recurve events, a 122cm target is used at a distance of 70m, with bands scoring from 10 down to one point as you move from the centre to the outside.

In W1 events, an 80cm target is used at a distance of 50m, with bands also scoring from 10 down to one point as you move from the centre to the outside.

In compound events, a 48cm target is used at a distance of 50m, with bands scoring from 10 down to five points as you move from the centre to the outside. This is known as a ‘six-ring target’.

In the preliminary round, athletes receive a ranking based on their total score from 72 arrows, then proceed to the elimination round. The match format then differs between categories.

In recurve events, five-set matches are played in individual events, with each set offering two points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss. A total of six points or more is required to win.

Mixed events are held as four-set matches, in which points are awarded in the same way as individual events. A total of five points or more for one pair is required to win.

In compound and W1 individual events, three arrows are released in each end (for a top score of 30 points) and the athlete with the highest total score after five ends (for a top score of 150 points) is the winner. In mixed events, four arrows are released for each end (two per person for a top score of 40 points), and the team with the highest total score after four ends (for a top score of 160 points) is the winner.


Staying cool under pressure

Archery players

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Archery competition will involve 140 athletes (80 men and 60 women) in individual men's and women's events (W1, compound - open, recurve - open) and mixed pairs events (W1, compound - open, recurve - open).

Great Britain and the People's Republic of China are considered to be among the leading countries, along with the United States, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea. At Rio 2016, Great Britain monopolised the podium in the W1 women's events while China's success was built around Zhou Jiamin, who captured the women's individual compound open together with a team gold.

Originally a black belt in taekwondo, Zahra Nemati took up archery after suffering a spinal injury in a traffic accident. Arguably the most popular and successful female Paralympian to come from Iran, she won gold at both London 2012 and Rio 2016. She is competitive with able-bodied athletes, and indeed is one of the few athletes to take part in both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.



Matt Stutzman (United States), who was born without arms and draws his bow with his mouth while holding it with his feet, received silver at London 2012 then set a Guinness world record in 2015. What for?


A:The world's longest accurate shot.
He hit a target at a distance of 310 yards (283.464m). The previous record was 219 yards (200m), set by an able-bodied athlete.

As of 1 Dec. 2018

Competition Venues

  • Yumenoshima Park Archery Field

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports