Archery was originally enjoyed as a means of rehabilitation and recreation for people with disabilities as a result of World War II. The first archery competition was held in the front lawn of the Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948 during the International Games for the Disabled and the sport of Para-archery began thereafter. Archery was one of the original Paralympic sports present at the first Rome 1960 Paralympic games and has been included ever since. Archery has grown in popularity since that date with presently 54 countries practicing the sport.
Benefits of the Sport
Archery is one of the easiest sports to adapt for people with disabilities. Athletes can compete with very limited hand and arm function in addition to those with visual impairment or blindness. It is enjoyed by both male and female competitors, all disability levels, and all age levels from juniors to adults.
Classification is an important part of Para-archery to ensure that competition is equal among archers and winning is determined by factors such as skill, fitness, power, and tactical ability not allowing for any competitive advantage or disadvantage. Official Classifiers determine the functional ability of each archer and place them into one of three physical classes (Open, Standing, and Wheelchair). Athletes are further categorized into one of the following shooting classes: W1 refers to an archer with tetraplegia or impairment in both arms and legs, W2 refers to an archer with paraplegia or mostly impairment in the legs, and ST refers to an archer who is standing or can shoot from a stool or stationary chair. The fourth shooting class is Open Compound which includes athletes from all of the above classes. For detailed information on the Classification process for a Para-archer refer to the Para Archery Classification Guidebook.