PARA ARCHERY: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Para archery team events in World Archery competition now feature doubles contests, rather than teams of three archers. This change was introduced in order to let more countries compete in team rounds and have more competitive team rounds in certain categories.
There are two categories in para archery – W1 and open – with open divided into compound open and recurve open. The classification process is designed to ensure that those competing all have at least a similar minimum level of impairment and also set rules about what assistive devices may be used. In each classification, there are men’s individual, women’s individual and mixed team events.
In the World Championships, there is also a Visually Impaired category. In this category, men and women compete together. Visually impaired athletes shoot over a distance of 30 metres using tactile sights that touch the back of their hands to aim. They are permitted an assistant to help load arrows and score.
The W1 classification is for archers who are more impaired; they who may have an impairment in their torso and legs, and use a wheelchair. They may shoot either a recurve or compound bow modified from standard rules, but there are not separate competitions for the two disciplines, although the vast majority of W1 competitors shoot compound.
In W1, compound and recurve bow draw weight is limited to 45lb and archers are not allowed to use magnifying scopes or levelling bubbles on their sight. W1 archers may also use an assistant to help them load the bow.
The open classifications for compound and recurve are for competitors with an impairment in either the top or bottom halves of their bodies. Some athletes may use a wheelchair, but others may shoot resting on a stool. Compound open division archers can use magnifying scopes and levelling bubbles, and the draw weight is limited to 60lb. Open classification archers compete under essentially the same rules as able-bodied athletes.