The first archery competition for those with physical impairments was held for recovering veterans at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England 1948. Participants from other Nations became more involved with Para archery over the years and it became the precursor to the Paralympic Games. In 1960 the first Paralympiad was held in Rome, and Para archery was one of the original Paralympic sports. Para archery has remained on the Paralympic programme ever since.
The sport has three different classifications. Archery is open to athletes with a physical impairment, who may shoot with assistive devices allowed under classification rules, if required. Para archery is similar to its Olympic counterpart with Para athletes aiming for the centre of a target 70 metres away, marked with 10 scoring zones. Para athletes can compete seated in a wheelchair, or from a standing position.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 137 Para athletes from 40 countries competed in nine different medal events.
New Zealand Paralympian Neroli Fairhall competed in Archery at the Paralympic Games in 1972, 1980, 1988 and 2000. She also became the first disabled athlete to compete in an Olympic Games when she competed in the women’s archery event at the 1984 Los Angeles 1984 Olympics. It was yet another remarkable achievement in a unique career. Two years previously, at Brisbane, Fairhall became the first disabled athlete to compete at a Commonwealth Games and, what’s more, she stunned sports followers by winning a gold medal.
For more information on Para archery visit World Archery.
Para archery is not currently played widely in New Zealand, but register your interest now and we will help you to find a Para sport for you in your local area!