Archery is an art of prompting the release of an arrow with a bow. Traditionally, this skill was used for combat and hunting. However, with the invention of faster and easier modern weaponry, it has been reduced to a sport for recreational activities. Being a popular sport worldwide, it was introduced in the Olympics for the first time in 1900 and lasted till the 1920 games. In 1930, the Federation Internationale de Tir à l'Arc (FITA) was established which continues to be the governing body for the sport. It made a reentry into the Olympics in 1972 and continues to be a part ever since.
The competitions test a contestant's ability to aim and shoot a target accurately. These competitions are organized either indoors or outdoors. The rules vary depending upon the competition organizers and where it is being played. However, the basic rules of the game remain same. Certain basic ones, as laid down by the FITA, are discussed below.
All You Should Know
The competitions are either held indoors or outdoors. In an indoor game, the distance between the shooting line and the target is 18 or 25 meters. For an outdoor game, the shooting line and target are 30 to 90 meters apart, depending upon the competition. Junior archers are allowed to shoot from a shorter distance, while senior archers shoot from a longer distance. For the Olympic games, the standard distance is 70 meters.
Every competition is divided into 'ends', an 'end' being a segment wherein an archer gets to shoot 3 to 6 arrows depending upon the rules. After completion of an 'end', players proceed towards the target to get their arrows back and find out their scores. For indoor competitions, there are a total of 20 ends, with each end allowing the archer to shoot 3 arrows. There is no defined format for outdoor games, and the number of shots per end vary as per tournament rules. Players shoot from the shooting line on command and later retrieve their arrows back when asked to.
Generally, in conventional competitions, a fixed time limit is set within which archers need to shoot their arrows. For indoor competitions, the FITA has allotted 2 minutes to the archer to shoot 3 arrows. There are no sound generating devices used to signal the archers, instead commands are given using lights or flags.
Targets are marked using 10 concentric rings which are evenly placed. Each of these concrete rings are assigned a value from 1 to 10. The innermost ring within the circle is known as the 'X' ring, and is the 10th ring for indoor competitions. For outdoor competitions, this ring is used during tiebreaks, as the person who shoots the most number of 'X' rings is declared the winner. There are specific colors given to these rings by the FITA - White for the 1st and 2nd rings, Black for the 3rd and 4th rings, Blue for the 5th and 6th rings, Red for the 7th and 8th, and Gold for the 9th and 10th rings.
An archer scores points calculated by adding up the values of rings his arrows hit. In case the arrow hits the boundary line, the archer gets the higher score for his shot. A score sheet is maintained on which the archer's points are recorded in descending order, irrespective of the order in which he scores points. Players are allowed to touch their arrows only after the scoring and marking for the particular shot is done. In case of a dispute in scoring, a judge intervenes and has the final authority in deciding where the arrow lies. Points are also awarded if the arrow bounces off after hitting the target or directly passes through the target.
The size of target faces depends upon the kind of championship and the distance between the shooting line and target. FITA has laid down certain specifications for the same, 40 cm for 18 m indoor events, 60 cm for 25 m indoor events, 80 cm for 30 and 50 m outdoor events, and 122 cm for 70 or 90 m outdoor events.
Apart from these basic rules, there are certain safety measures which need to be kept in mind, as the arrow is a lethal weapon which could seriously injure a person. It is important not to point an arrow at a person and all spectators should be seated behind the contestants. Also, archers need to wait for signals to shoot as well as collect the arrows later on.