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Archery


Target archery has been a Paralympic sport for more than 30 years. The Paralympic program includes doubles, singles, and team events using the same competition and scoring protocol as utilized in the Olympic games. The official governing body is the Federation Internationale de Tir L’Arc or the Federation of International Target Archery (FITA).

Athlete eligibility and classification
Paralympic competition is limited to athletes with cerebral palsy, spinal injuries and other lower limb impairments, and les autres conditions; however, athletes with other disabilities also enjoy archery.

Archers in the Paralympic Games compete in wheechair and standing classifications.

Playing area
The playing field is designed similar to competitions for "able-bodied" athletes. The target is a distance of 294 feet (90 meters) away from archer. The maximum target size is 48 inches in diameter (122 centimeters). The target is divided into ten (10) concentric rings with a golden "bulls eye" or center ring. Rules
The rules and scoring protocol are the same as those utilized in the Olympic games. Points are earned for each arrow striking the target. Archers score ten points if he/she hits the bulls eye and one point if they hit the outer ring. The closer the archer's arrow lands to the bulls eye, the more points earned.

Equipment

Sport-specific equipment. Paralympic athletes use a recurve bow. Recurves are made of wood, graphite, fiberglass, or carbon composites. Arrows are either carbon graphite or aluminum.

Bow lengths and weights vary considerably. Bow lengths vary from four to six feet. It is generally recommended that persons in wheelchairs and children utilize a 48-inch bow. Additionally, the following draw-weight guide can be utilized to assist in fitting an athlete to a bow: children under 10 years should use a 10 to 15 pound bow, 10-12 year olds should use a 15 to 20 pound bow, women and teenage girls should use a 20 to 30 pound bow, and teenage boys and men should use a 30 to 40 pound bow.

Individuals wishing to hunt start with bows weighing between 40 and 50 pounds.

Disability-specific equipment. Wheelchair archers require no equipment modifications. However, the wheelchair archer positions self at a ninety-degree angle from the target and may remove the front armrest to allow increased draw of the bow string.

The wheelchair archer is allowed to utilize seat and back cushions with restrictions on thickness. In general, seat cushions are restricted to 15 centimeters and back cushions are restricted to 5 centimeters.

Archers with significant upper extremity disability are allowed to utilize a device to secure the bow to the hand. These devices may be as sophisticated as a universal cuff or as simple as tying or bandaging the bow to the hand of the archer. Additionally, persons with significant upper extremity disability are allowed to have a person nock the arrow onto the bow.

However, this person may not give the archer any verbal advice or coaching tips nor may they in any way be disruptive to other competitors.

Archers with bilateral hip articulation or archers with bilateral above-knee amputations with shortness of residual limbs prohibiting the use of prostheses are allowed to utilize strapping or a body support from the base of the wheelchair. Much specificity is given regarding strapping and body support systems; however, as a general rule, a chest strap can be no wider than 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) and can be placed no less than 110 millimeters (4.33) below the armpit.

Sighting aids may be utilized if they comply with FITA rules on shooting at outdoor archery targets.

Although the United States Association for Blind Athletes (USABA) does not sponsor competition in archery, modifications can be made to facilitate successful inclusion of this individual into recreational participation. Some of these strategies are identified below:
  • Foot blocks may be utilized to orient the archer to the target,
  • Audible sound source positioned at or behind target,
  • Brightly colored target for persons with partial sight, and
  • Balloons on target to provide auditory feedback.
Other adaptive equipment:
  • Wheelchair bow stringer. A pole is vertically mounted into the ground near the archers stand. Two large covered bolts are strategically placed on the pole to allow the archer independence in stringing the bow. Diagrams of this device are available in most adapted sports or adapted physical education texts.


  • Bow sling. This is a loose strapping device that is secured to the wrist of the bow hand. This device may be utilized by persons with mild spasticity or others who have a tendency to drop the bow when they release the string/arrow.


  • Amputee adapter device (below-elbow). This device is designed for the amputee using a prosthesis/terminal device with hook fingers. One end of the device is held by the hook fingers and the other end has a notch that allows the archers to draw the string. Upon full draw the archer is able to release the string/arrow given slight rotation of the prothesis.


  • Adapted archery bow. Adaptive bow and mounting systems can be built to allow persons with significant disability to participate in this sport on a recreational level. A bow and supportive devices are secured to a camera tripod. The device is designed to allow a volunteer to draw the string into a quick release aid. Given only slight finger pressure on the trigger of the release aid the archer discharges the arrow towards the target. Further diagrams and construction details are available in many adapted sports or adapted physical education texts.
  • For more information:

    Federation of International Target Archery (FITA)
    Avenue de Cour 135
    CH-1007 Lausanne
    Suisse-Switzerland
    Phone: +41 21 614 30 50
    Fax: +41 21 614 30 55
    Email: fita@worldcom.ch

    National Archery Association (USA)
    One Olympic Plaza
    Colorado Springs, CO, 80909
    USA

    Disabled Outdoors (magazine with a focus on the hunter with disability)
    2052 West 23rd Street
    Chicago, IL, 60608