Rio Olympics 2016, Archery: Rules, format and point system for Olympic Games


The Sambodromo – Venue for Rio 2016 Archery events

Sankalp Srivastava

Archery at the Rio Olympics 2016 will start with the Men’s ranking round on the 5th of August, followed by the women's ranking round on the same day. A total of 128 athletes are part of the sport in the Games, 64 men and 64 women.

While everyone is aware of the basic of the sport, World Archery Association has etched out a few guidelines which need to be followed during an international event. Talking of international events, they don’t come bigger than the Olympics.

Therefore, in order to make things easy for you, we’ll try and explain you the rules of the game and how the format works in the Olympics.


Bow and Arrow

The Bow

First of all, unlike the World Championships or the World Cups where there are separate events for Recurve and Compound, only Recurve Bows are allowed in the Summer Games. The bows used are specially designed to facilitate shooting for the Archer, as it consists of two limbs, a handle and bowstring, sighting accessories and stabiliser rods.

The Arrow

The maximum diameter allowed for an arrow is 9.33mm. However, the arrows used by the International Archers are of around 5.55mm. The reason being, arrows with lesser diameter can travel faster and are easier to aim.

The Target

archery target

The target has an overall diameter of 122cm (48.8 inches) and consists of 10 concentric circles (12.2 cm each). The center ring, or bulls-eye is also 12.2 cm in diameter. The target is situated 70m from the shooting spot, and is positioned 1.3m above the ground. For the Archers, hitting the Bullseye (innermost circle) gives you 10 points, the outer ring gives 9 and so forth.

In terms of colours, the yellow part score 9 or 10 points, red scores eight or seven points, blue six or five points, black four or three points and white two or one points.

How format works in Olympics

The first round that is played is the Ranking Round, where all the 64 archers in each category (men’s and women’s) take part. Every archer has to shoot 72 arrows, in groups of six, and the rankings are decided after the culmination of the round. Archer with the maximum number of points is given the Rank 1 and so forth.

The ranking round helps in deciding the line-up for the next round, the round-of-64. The top-ranked player will face the 64th rank, 2nd ranked against the 63rd ranked and henceforth. The round-of-64 is followed by the round-of-32, pre-quarterfinals, quarterfinals, semifinals and the final.

Also Read: 5 greatest Archers in Olympic history

This round also helps in deciding the seeds for the team events. There are a total of 12 teams in each men’s and women’s event and every team comprises of three players each.

The scores of all the three players from the ranking round are aggregated to form a total score for every team, according to which they are given respective seeds. The top-4 seeded teams are given a bye to the quarterfinals, whereas the other eight teams fight it out among themselves for the remaining four spots.

Note: All the matches after the Ranking Round will be knockouts.

Points System

Individual Event

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 round decide the seedings.

In the knockout rounds, when the archers face each other on a head-to-head basis, the match is decided by a set system. In each set, every archer has to shoot 3 arrows and the athlete winning the set is awarded 2 set-points and the loser 0. If the scores are same in a set, both are awarded 1 set-point each.

The archer who amasses 6 set-points first, wins the match. However, if the scores are tied even after the fifth set, both the archers shoot one arrow each and the athlete whose arrow lands nearest to the bullseye, wins. Archers are given 20 seconds for each shot in the knockouts.

Team Event

South Korea  Archery london 2012

South Korea won the London Olympics gold-medal in the Women’s team event

The team events also work on a set system. However, instead of three arrows per set, there are six arrows per set. The point to note here is that teams shoot the arrows in groups of 3, i.e., a team of three players shoots three arrows, one per player, and then the other team repeats the process. After both the teams are done with both the groups of three arrows, the team with higher score gets 2 set-points.

Here, the first team to accumulate five set-points wins the match. If the scores are tied after four sets, each player from both the teams shoots an arrow each and the team whose arrow lands closest to the bulls-eye wins the match. If the first arrows are at the same distance, then the second ones are compared and then the third.

Edited by Staff Editor


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