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Paralympic Archery

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Paralympic Archery for people with mobility impairments was introduced to the Paralympic Games as part of the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. 130 athletes competed from two countries.[1]



To strike a target at a certain distance as close to the center point as possible. The target consists of a circle with 10 concentric rings. The center ring is worth 10pts. and the rings decrease in value by 1pt. as they grow larger and farther from the center.

In the Paralympics, the target is placed at a distance of 70 meters.


Different requirements exist for individuals and teams depending on their disability. Athletes are measured on an ability scale of 380pts to determine eligibility. Three aspects of mobility are tested: muscle strength, coordination, and joint mobility. In order to qualify to compete in the Paralympics, athletes must have a minimal loss of 25 points in the upper limbs or 20 points in the trunk or 15 in the lower limbs or 25 in the total. Points are reassessed after a shooting test.

Points allocated to an able-bodied archer
Area Points
Arms 190
Trunk 60
Legs 130
Total 380

Classification Categories

  • Archery Standing (ARST) - no disabilities in the arms, legs show some degree of loss of muscle strength, co-ordination and/or joint mobility, may compete sitting in an ordinary chair with their feet on the ground or standing.
  • Archery Wheelchair 1 (ARW1) - have a disability in their arms and legs (tetraplegia), limited range of movement, strength and control of their arms and poor or non-existing control of the trunk, legs are considered non-functional, they compete in a wheelchair.
  • Archery Wheelchair 2 (ARW2) - have paraplegia and limited mobility in the lower limbs, athletes require a wheelchair for everyday use and compete in a wheelchair.[2]

Classification Procedure

Three qualified classifiers are required including one person with medical training. The athlete is then required to complete a Classification Report. For athletes with multiple disabilities, the testers determine which is more functionally severe and test accordingly.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Minimum Point Loss/Disability
Wheelchair 50 legs/trunk
Chair 38 legs/trunk
Permitted Body support or strapping T-5 or higher, Only ARW1 archers are allowed to use simultaneously protrusion and strapping
Release aid disabilities in the finger of both hands are allowed
Compound bow ARW1 with upper limbs disabilities are allowed to use a compound bow, no peep sight and no optic lenses
Bow bandaged bow arm disability may use the bow tied or bandaged to the hand when authorized
Bow arm splint bow arm disability may use an elbow or wrist splint when authorised
String arm wrist splint bow arm disability may use a wrist splint when authorised
Assistant ARW1 and ARST-C Archers unable to nock arrows may have a person to load their arrows into the bow, no verbal or other assistance, no spotting of arrows, no ajusting bow sight, no disturbing others

Paralympic Archers by Country

United States of America


  1. "History of Archery." International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Accessed on May 28, 2008.
  2. "Classification of Archery." International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Accessed on May 28, 2008.