Origin of the Sport

The Egyptians were the earliest people to have used bows and arrows around 5000 years ago for hunting and warfare. In the Greco-Roman period, the bow was used more for personal exploits or hunting rather than warfare.

Archery continued to feature over the centuries with its popularity reflected in its mythological references through the likes of Robin Hood. The first known archery competition took place at Finsbury in England in 1583 and attracted more than 3000 participants.

Further developed as a recreational and competitive sport, archery first featured at the modern Olympic Games in 1900. It has been a permanent part of the Olympic programme since 1972. The international governing body for the sport - now known as the World Archery Federation - was founded in 1931.

How it Works

The aim of the sport is to fire arrows from a bow as accurately as possible at a target face with various scoring zones. Archery is broadly separated into three areas - outdoor target, indoor target and field target competitions. Two types of bow – the recurve - used for Olympic competition and similar to that used by Robin Hood – and the compound - equipped by a pulley cam system are commonly used.

Archers fire at a 122cm target area 70m away (this is 60m for those aged 50 and over) for the outdoor recurve event. Participants fire at a smaller target area at a 50m distance for the compound outdoor event.

Targets are 25m or 18m in distance for the indoor event. For the field target competition the archers fire at black coloured targets with a gold centre anywhere between 5 to 50m in distance.

Format at World Masters Games

Outdoor target, indoor target and field target competitions for men and women for the longbow, recurve and compound bows will feature at the 2017 World Masters Games. Age divisions are divided into groups of ten years: 30-39 40-49 etc up until the 70+ division. Para-Archery for both the outdoor and indoor target events with recurve and compound options will also take place.

All the target competitions will have a ranking round followed by a straight elimination format. The recurve event is the best of five sets with three arrows per archer per set with two points awarded per set and the first to six points winning. In the compound outdoor target event archers shoot five ends of three arrows simultaneously and the archer with the highest cumulative score will win the match. The same principles apply to the indoor events. The format of the field event will see every participant shooting the same number of arrows (four per end) into the same number of targets (24). The archer with the highest cumulative total will win.

Expected number of participants: 230

Kiwi Hero – Neroli Fairhall

A trailblazing star of the sport whose disability was no bar to success - perhaps no Kiwi athlete will ever quite make the same impact on her sport. A wheelchair user following a motorbike crash in 1969 she later took up the sport of archery and was selected for the New Zealand team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Sadly, the boycott denied her the chance to compete, but undeterred she went on to strike gold at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. In 1984 the Cantabrian became the first paraplegic athlete to compete at an Olympics, finishing 35th in the women’s individual event at the Los Angeles Games. She also competed in four Paralympic Games. She died aged 61 in 2006.

Did You Know?

There are more than eight million archers worldwide.

How to Get Involved