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Archery at the Olympics: GB team, rules, events and what the target is called

Your complete guide to the rules, terminology and competitors in the Olympic archery competitions.

Archery Olympics guide
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Published: Tuesday, 20th July 2021 at 4:39 pm

Archery first appeared in the 1900 Olympics and has been a regular fixture since 1972. A total of 128 archers will feature in Tokyo – 64 men and 64 women – competing in individual, team and mixed team events.

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Aside from the skill necessary to hit a target from a distance of 70 metres, archers have a time limit of 40 seconds in which to shoot each arrow, meaning that Olympic Hawkeyes face immense psychological pressure in every round.

You may not be well-versed in the ways of archery, but what better time to learn and soak it all up than during the Games?

RadioTimes.com brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about archery at the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, taking place in the summer of 2021.

  • Viewers who are looking to watch each and every sport from the Tokyo Olympics 2020, you can tune in for full coverage via online streaming platform discovery+

When is archery at the Olympics?

Archery runs between Friday 23rd July until Saturday 31st July.

Medal finals will take place on five of the nine days of action, meaning there'll be a steady trickle of archery medal ceremonies throughout.

Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.

Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don't miss what they have to say.

What are the rules for Olympic archery?

Olympic archers use what are known as recurve bows, where the curve of the bow tips would naturally extend away from the archer if it weren't being pulled back toward them.

This added tension in the bow allows it to propel the arrow more powerfully. Archers will initially shoot 72 arrows over a 70m distance to rack up a combined score that will be used to seed them in the individual event. For the team event, scores from the seeding round will be aggregated to seed the teams.

After the seeding round, the knockout competition will begin, with 1st seed facing the 64th, 2nd facing the 63rd and so on.

The knockout rounds consist of a best-of-five sets competition, with each archer shooting three arrows per set.

The winner of each set receives two points, with a point apiece for a draw. A tie will be decided by a single arrow each, with the closest shot to the centre being the winner.

The team events follow a similar format, although each team member gets two shots instead of three.

What is the archery target called?

Archery targets come in a variety of sizes depending on the equipment and distance in use.

For the recurve bows and 70m distance used in Olympic archery, a target with a 122cm face will be used.

The face will be attached to a padded boss and placed on a butt or stand.

The face has ten concentric rings in five colours, with each ring being worth an additional point as they get nearer the centre.

Hitting the central 10-point ring is the equivalent of shooting an apple from a distance approximate to the wingspan of a jumbo jet.

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Which Team GB athletes will compete in Olympic archery?

Great Britain's archers consist of four Olympic debutants, Sarah Bettles, Tom Hall, Bryony Pitman and James Woodgate, along with experienced competitors Naomi Folkard and Patrick Huston.

Folkard is a four-time Olympian, with Bronze medals from the last two world championships, while Huston also won a Bronze at the 2016 World Championships.

The international competition is strong. The Republic of Korea won gold in all four archery events in 2016 and will have women's world No.1 Kang Chae Young as part of their squad, while the US will also be sending men's world No.1 Brady Ellison, who has two Olympic silver medals for the team evens and a bronze in the individual.

Read more – check out our comprehensive guides to the Olympic sports: Baseball and Softball | Canoeing | Gymnastics | Shooting | Swimming | Table Tennis | Weightlifting

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