Archery is an Olympic sport in which athletes compete in the accuracy of shooting a bow. In this type of sport, the winner is the athlete or a team that scores the highest number of points, according to the rules of the competition.

The World Archery Federation (Federation Internationale de Tir a L'arc, FITA) is an organization that unites 140 national federations. It is headquartered in Lausanne (Switzerland). The Federation was founded in 1931.

European and Mediterranean Archery Union (EMAU).

A brief history of archery

The exact time of the emergence of archery, as well as the place of its origin, have not been defined yet. Although, it is known for sure that people had bows at the end of the Stone Age and used them as weapons for hunting. Thanks to bows, people could get their own meat.

About 3 thousand years ago, bows began to be used not only for hunting but also as a weapon. The archers were greatly appreciated as they could hit targets from a distance of several hundred meters. Later on, bows were replaced with firearms. It was during this period that archery began to develop as a sport.

In 1900, the first official archery competition was held, this happened at the second Olympic Games. Until 1972, this discipline was considered optional. It was included in the program of the Olympic Games during select years. Despite the fact that competitions were taking place, there was no organization regulating archery. The World Archery Federation (FITA) was established in 1931 in Poland, and it subsequently developed the rules for conducting competitions.

In the mid-eighties, dueling fights were introduced which were supposed to enhance the entertainment potential of the competition. In 1988, team competitions appeared as well. Since 2000, the rules of archery have been constantly changing, and every Olympic Game has been held with the changes in the program.

Basic archery competition rules and scoring

Archery competitions are held both outdoors and indoors. Shooting at the competitions is carried out in a series of 3 or 6 arrows. According to FITA standards, 2 minutes are given for a series of 3 arrows, and 4 minutes are given for a series of 6 arrows.

At all the competitions, the process of certification is held first and then, according to the Olympic system, the winner is defined among the remaining athletes. This system is also relevant for the World and European Championships.

Archery target

Shooting a bow is conducted with targets approved by FITA. Archery targets are made of paper and concentric circles of different colors are depicted on it. Targets are attached to special shields, which are made of durable material that prevents the passage of arrows through them. The size of the archery target depends on the competitive distance. Inside the bull’s eye, there is another circle with a diameter that is twice as small as the other one, it is necessary for resolving disputable situations when the points are equal. Also, it is used for registering world records.

Archery rules [PDF]

  1. Constitution and procedures
  2. Events
  3. Target
  4. Field and 3D archery
  5. Miscellaneous Archery Rounds and Ski-Archery
  6. Anti-Doping

Archery distances

Indoor shooting is conducted from the distances of 18, 30 or 50 meters (for both men and women).

Outdoor shooting is conducted from a distance of 30, 50, 70, or 90 meters for men and 30, 50, 60 or 70 meters for women. The Olympic shooting distance is 70 meters.

Archery sports equipment

The basic list of archery equipment is, of course, the bow. In target shooting, at the official competitions under the guidance of FITA, the two following types of archery bows are used:

  • The classic bow (recurve bow): The stretching force of such a bow is about 15-20 kg. The flying speed of an error reaches 240 km/h. Such a bow is used at the Olympic Games.
  • The compound bow. In compound bows, there is a special mechanism used, which is the reason the arrow has more correct acceleration. It also facilitates the process of stretching the bow. The stretching force is about 25-30 kg. The speed of an arrow from such a bow reaches 320 km/h.

Modern archery arrows are composite. They consist of a head, shaft, spine, and a nock. For archers, fitting the arrows is very important. They must correspond to a lot of individual qualities, first of all, to the length of the arms. The arrows are put into a special quiver.

The release is a releasing device. With its help, the archer grabs the string and then releases it at the right moment. The release minimizes the area for grabbing the string, which, in its turn, reduces its deformation during a full stretch and increases the stability of the shot.

The bracer for archery is the element that protects the forearm of the archer from the impact of a bowstring.


The number of referees at the boards should not be less than three, usually, one referee is appointed for 7 shields. The duties of the referees include the following:

  • checking all the field parameters and distances, sizes of targets and shields, the height of targets;
  • checking the equipment for athletes;
  • control of shooting;
  • recording the results;
  • solving the emerging issues;
  • interruption of the competition, if necessary;
  • consideration of complaints and requests.

Archery Competitions

  • The Olympic Games is the most prestigious archery competition held every four years.
  • The World Open Archery Championships take place every odd year.
  • Outdoor Archery World Cup is held annually.

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