HomeSportsArcheryThe Evolution of Archery Game | All you need to know

The Evolution of Archery Game | All you need to know

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Is Archery is the oldest art still practiced? History will take you through a journey on the evolution of archery sport, but also the history of mankind. Evidence of ancient archery has been found throughout the world and it has evolved since then. A person who participates in archery is called an archer or a marksman in ancient times

A brief history of Archery sport

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The earliest evidence of archery dates around 10,000 BC, when the bows and arrows were used for hunting and warfare in Egyptian and Nubian cultures.

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The oldest known evidence of arrows can be traced back to Sibudu Cave situated in South Africa, where the ruins of bone and stone arrowheads have been found, can be traced back to approximately 72,000-60,000 years ago.

The world has seen the archers of Classical civilizations like the Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Romans, Indians, Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese who have a special place in history books

Archery was highly developed in Asia, especially in India. The Sanskrit term for archery, dhanurveda, refers to the study of archery. In East Asia, Goguryeo of Korea who hailed from one of the three kingdoms was world-famous for its regiments of exceptionally skilled archers.

 The first known Archery competition was organized by England was held at Finsbury in 1583 and which saw 3000 participants take part in the competition. With the invention of gunpowder, the bow was discarded pretty much.

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Archery sport mythology

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In Indian mythology, we have heard various tales of legendary warriors and even gods like Karna, Abhimanyu, Eklavya, Arjuna, Bhishma, Drona, Rama, and Shiva who were known for their shooting skills. The famous archery competition of hitting the eye of a rotating fish while watching its reflection in the water bowl in the  Swayamvara of Drupada’s daughter Draupadi was one of the many archery skills depicted in the Mahabharata.

In Persian tales, Arash is considered as a fine archer & the same goes with Hercules in Greek mythology Archery who is considered to be a legendary warrior, also in Greek books, Odysseus is mentioned as being eminently skilled in the art of archery returns home in disguise of a shepherd after being absent for 20 years and then bests the suitors in an archery competition after hinting at his identity by stringing and drawing the great bow that only he can draw which was the challenge of his wife, Penelope. A similar tale can be found in the Turkic heroic poem Alpamysh.

READ | The significance of Olympic flag & five Olympic rings

Archery as a modern sport

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In the sport of archery, the archer uses a bow to propel arrows to hit the target from a particular distance. Derived from the Latin word ‘arcus’, it was only used for hunting in ancient times. But today it has gained popularity among people.

Archery was approved as a Summer Olympics sport in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics. The only type of archery featured at the Olympics was Recurve Archery – a type of Target Archery. Archery is now also a Summer Paralympics event.

Types of Archery sport

  • Target Archery– The most basic form of archery. Target archery is the type of archery practiced at the Olympics. Archers shoot a set number of arrows at targets located at specified distances in indoor or outdoor premises.
  • Field Archery–  A bit on the physical side, various targets are set in different terrains and woodlands, an archer has to hit a particular type of target with a specified number of arrows before moving onto the second one.
  • Clout Archery– It was used as military training in the middle ages, the idea is derived from ancient archery. The target is a small flag on a vertical stick aka clout, buried in the ground and placed to a specific distance.
  • Flight shooting– This form of archery simply consists of shooting an arrow over the longest possible distance.

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Equipment used in Archery sport

S.NEquipmentUse/Specifications
1ArmguardTo protect the arm from the bowstring
2BowMen: 22 kg. Women: 17kg
3ArrowDiameter: 9.3mm. Also, 5.5 mm for faster flight & lower wind drift.
4Bowstringmade of high-tech polythene which is generally stronger than steel.

 

5Shooting glove or Finger tabTo protect the finger from arrow
6ChestguardTo keep body clothes away from the string
7FletchingA feather-type material is at the end of each arrow, to make it fly straight.

 

8QuiverA container is worn around the waist for holding the arrows.
9SightA machine placed on the bow to help the archer aim. Another name is bow sight.
10NockThe rear end of an arrow is attached to a plastic holder. It keeps the bowstring in its position.
11StabilizerTo stabilize the weight mounted on the bow during and after the shot.
12TargetThe standard target provided in the Olympics is 48 inches in diameter. It is kept at 70 m away from the archer. The height of the center of the target is 1.3 m above ground.

There are 10 rings of which the center ring is 4.8 inches in diameter. Another ring of 4.8 inches in diameter serves as a tie-breaker in the qualification.

Rules of Archery

Athletes competing in archery at the Olympic Games have to use a recurve bow, arrows and the targets are set 70 meters away from the starting point. The target has 10 concentric scoring rings, separated into five colors according to which points are presented to the archer.

The inner gold color aka bullseye, scores 10 or 9 points. The red scores 8 or 7 points, blue 6 or 5 points, black 4 or 3 points, white 2 or 1 point.

Scoring and Winning

There are basically 2 types of scoring systems in the archery game. It depends on at what level the game is conducted. They are 5-zone and 10-zone scoring system

  • 5-zone Scoring − In this scoring system the target is divided into 5 different colored zones, and points are awarded according to the level the arrow hits. This method is followed in GNAS rounds and the distances are measured in yards.
  • 10-zone Scoring − In this scoring system, the target is divided into 10 scoring zones. Each color is split into two parts the inner ring and the outer ring. For world archery tournaments, the 10-zone scoring system is followed. This is used in most indoor archery and the length is measured in meters.

The scoring is done in even number order.

READ | India at Olympics | Top 15 Indian Olympic Winners 

INDIVIDUAL 

For the Ranking Round, the archers have to shoot 72 arrows and they are given 40 seconds for each shot. The total points at the end of the round decide the seedings.

If the match is tied in knockout stages, each player has to shoot 3 arrows which make up 1 set. Whoever has the most pts after the set is declared winner and is given two pts and the loser gets 0 pts.

TEAM 

The team events also work on a set system. However, instead of 3 arrows per set, there are now 6 arrows per set. Now the teams shoot the arrows in groups of 3. With each player of the team shooting 3 arrows each. After both the teams are done, the team with a higher score gets 2 set-points and the loser team gets zero points in the set. The team that has won 5 sets is considered to be the winner.

Archery sport dimensions

The commonly followed distance for shooting a target is between 20 to 80 yards. In Olympics, target archery has a length of 18 m, i.e., about 20 yards indoor and between 30 to 90 meters outdoors. It depends on the age of the archer and the style of equipment.

Archery terminologies

Before taking a bow into the hand and throwing an arrow towards the target, it’s mandatory to learn a few terms in the field of archery for grasping little knowledge about the game and its features.

TermsMeaning
Anchor PointThe point to be touched by the string before releasing the arrow.
Archer’s ParadoxThe effect is generated by the flexing of an arrow when it leaves the bow.
BrodheadA sharp-bladed hunting head attached to an arrow.
BullseyeThe center of a target, for which hitting scores maximum points.
CrestMarking on an arrow
CrownThe nock end of the arrow where it is colored.
Clout ArcheryA discipline in archery to shoot at a flag. The closer arrow scores maximum points.
Daikyu

 

The Japanese term for a longbow.
DrawingThe pulling of the bowstring to an extreme stretch.
Dry loosingTo loosen the string without an arrow, causing damage to the bow.
EndA round in which arrows are shot.
Field tipHead for practicing against the targets.
Flu-flu arrowA short-range arrow specially designed for practicing.
Judo pointA target
LimbLower and upper arms of a bow.

 

KisserButton indicating vertical distance while a bow is drawn.

 

LongrodRod on the bow is attached to sustain vibrations.
Mongolian DrawTo draw a bow using the thumb.

 

NockTo set an arrow to a bow.
VaneThe fin of an arrow that stabilizes the motion.
OverdrawThe situation when the bow is too large for the bowstring
lunger/ Pressure ButtonDevice for correcting the flex of an arrow during its release.
Self-bowBow made of a single material.

 

TipTop-end of the bow, differentiated from arrow point

Archery Facts

  • Archery has been practiced for over 60,000 years.
  • The first known use of arrows & bows was in 2340 B.C by the Babylonians.
  • It is one of the oldest sports in the world.
  • The word archery is derived from the word arcus. It is a Latin term that means bow and arrows.
  • Archery has been an Olympic sport almost from the beginning. Its debut in the Summer Olympics occurred in 1900. In 1924 it was discontinued and it was reintroduced in 1972.
  • In the 1900 Summer Olympics live pigeons were used as the target in the archery competition.
  • Archery was the only women’s sport in the 1904 Olympics.
  • Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
  • The first country with organized archery competitions was England in the 1500s.

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Benefits of Archery Sport

  • No age limit. You can enjoy Archery at a young age of 8 & as elder as 80 can also play Archery.
  • Archery can be played in almost all weather conditions.
  • It increases concentration.
  • Shooting on target builds confidence.
  • Good exercise for the eye.
  • Enhances mental strength & stamina.

Indian Archer’s Achievements

Name

Event

Location

Medal

Comments

Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai & Jayanta Talukdar

1st World Cup –  03-09 May 2011

Porec, Croatia

Silver

Team Men (Recurve)

Rimil Buriuly

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Individual Women (Recurve)

Atanu Das

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Individual Men (Recurve)

Rimil, Sumita & Dipali

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Women (Recurve)

Atanu Das & Rimil Buriuly

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Mixed (Recurve)

Jhano Hansda

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Individual Women (Compound)

L. Haridas

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Individual Men (Compound)

Gagandeep, Jhano & Namita

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Women (Compound)

C.Srither, Jignas & Anil Kr.

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Men (Compound)

Gagandeep Kour

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Individual Women (Compound)

Ch. Jignas

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Individual Men (Compound)

C.Sither & Gagandeep

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Team Mixed (Compound)

Namita Yadav

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bronze

Individual Women (Compound)

Chinna Raju Srither

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bronze

Individual Men (Compound)

Atanu, Rajgovind & Somnath

3rd Asian Grand Prix-  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bronze

Team Men (Recurve)

Pawan Xalxo

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Individual Men (Recurve)

Mainaw, Himani & Gunjan

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Women (Recurve)

Pawan, Prashan & Hemant

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Gold

Team Men (Recurve)

Himani Boro

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Individual Women (Recurve)

Hemanta Basumatary

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Individual Men (Recurve)

Pawan & Mainaw

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Silver

Team Mixed (Recurve)

Mainaw Narzary

Asian Youth Archery Champ. –  25-31 May 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bronze

Individual Women (Recurve)

Deepika, Bombayla Devi & Ch.Swuro

2nd World Cup –  06-13 June 2011

Antalya, Turkey

Bronze

Team Women (Recurve)

Source: Archery Association of India

Famous Indian Archery Players

S.NIndian Archers
1Dola Banerjee
2Atanu Das
3Abhishek Verma
4Bombayla Devi Laishram
5Jayanta Talukdar
6Limba Ram
7Deepika Kumari
8Rahul Banerjee
9Tarundeep Rai
10Chekrovolu Swuro
11Ankita Bhakat
12Jyothi Surekha Vennam
13Muskan Kirar
14Laxmirani Majhi
15Satyadev Prasad
16Pravin Jadhav
17Mangal Singh Champia
18Purnima Mahato

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Aditya Mishra
IIMC'n. National Level Athlete (400m- 50.23). Sports and Defence enthusiast. Busy decoding: "MANSHA-VACHA-KARMA"

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