Danielle Brown lines up a shot at London 2012

Over the course of the last three Paralympic Games, Archery has proved to be a sport in which Britain excel.

In Athens 2004 ParalympicsGB topped the Archery medals table as the only country to win two gold medals in the sport. In Beijing 2008 ParalympicsGB archers won four medals, two of them gold, and finished second on the medal table.

Danielle Brown and Mel Clarke on the podium at London 2012Beijing 2008 saw the introduction of Compound events as a seperate discipline to Recurve in Archery – events which Britain dominated. Danielle Brown made her Paralympic debut, winning gold in the women’s Open Compound, while Mel Clarke took the bronze in the same event. John Stubbs also claimed gold in the men’s Open Compound and John Cavanagh picked up a silver in the men’s Individual Compound W1.

Since 2008, British archers have performed extremely well and for London the team secured 13 places at the Paralympic Games; Britain's best ever representation in the sport. GB archers brought home two medals this time round, with Mel Clarke and Danielle Brown shooting against each other in the final of the women's Open Compound. In a tight competition, Brown succeeded in defending her Beijing title and took the gold while Clarke took the silver, going one better on her bronze from Beijing.

Click here for images of Archery at London 2012.

  • First year at a Paralympic Games:
  • Rome 1960
  • Brief history:
  • Archery opened the programme of the first International Games for the Disabled at Stoke Mandeville in 1948
  • Eligible impairment groups:
  • Physical impairments including athletes who have spinal injuries and cerebral palsy, athletes who are amputees and athletes who are classified as les autres
  • London medal table:
  • 1 - Russia (two gold, one silver, two bronze)
    2 - Korea (one gold, two silver)
    3 - China (one gold, one silver, two bronze)
    4= Great Britain (one gold, one silver)
    4= Italy (one gold, one silver)
    4= USA (one gold, one silver)
  • GB medals in London:
  • Danielle Brown, gold, women’s Open Compound
    Mel Clarke, silver,  women’s Open Compound
  • Did you know:
  • Danielle Brown made history as the first ever disabled athlete to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games in a non-disabled event, where she won gold in the women’s Team Compound
  • London 2012 venue:
  • Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich
  • Rio 2016 venue:
  • Sambódromo (Maracaná Zone)


The goal of Archery is to shoot arrows accurately at a target with a diameter of 122cm marked with 10 concentric rings. These rings increase in points value the smaller and the closer they get to the centre, so a hit in the outermost zone is worth one point while a hit in the centre, the ‘gold’, is worth 10 points.

At the Paralympic Games archers shoot at targets placed at a standard distance of 70m, the same distance as at the Olympic Games.

Each event includes a ranking round where each archer shoots 72 arrows (12 ends of six arrows each) before the archers enter the elimination rounds. There are seven competitions for individual competitors and two team events. In some events the top performers in the ranking round will receive a bye in the first elimination round, because of the number of entries.

For the team events, teams are ranked according to the combined scores from the ranking round before proceeding to the knock out stages.

The elimination rounds will be contested as head-to-head match play. In the event of a tie, an arrow-by-arrow shoot-off will be held, creating the possibility of a gold medal being decided by a single shot.


The sport’s classification system divides archers into three functional classes.

The standing class (ST1) is for athletes with no loss of function in their arms, but with some degree of loss of muscle strength, co-ordination and/or joint mobility in their legs. Impairment groups include athletes who are amputees, athletes with cerebral palsy and athletes classified as les autres. Archers in this class may choose to compete sitting on a stool or chair with their feet on the ground or standing.

There is also a W1 class for athletes who have tetraplegia or a comparable impairment. These athletes have only a limited range of movement, strength and control in their arms and legs. They compete in a wheelchair.

Archers in the W2 class have paraplegia or a comparable impairment. Athletes have limited mobility in the lower limbs. W2 athletes have full arm function. These athletes usually require a wheelchair for everyday use and compete in a wheelchair.


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