Photo of athlete in wheelchair with a bow and arrow

Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow.  While archery was historically used for combat and hunting, today it is primarily a sporting activity. Archery was one of the original Paralympic sports first contested in Rome in 1960.

Athletes with physical disabilities can compete either standing or in wheelchairs in men's and women's categories. The objective of the sport is to shoot arrows accurately at a target marked with ten concentric rings. A hit in the centre ring (bull’s eye) scores ten points, with the following zones decreasing in point value until the outer ring, which is worth one point. 

Archery competitions are held both indoors and outdoors. The face size of the target and distance from the archer vary depending on the competition. In outdoor competition, the archer shoots at a target 70 metres away. In indoor competition, the distance is 18 or 25 metres. Target faces range in size from 40cm (for 18 metre distance) to 122cm (for 60 m to 90 m distances). An archery competition is divided into ends of three or six arrows.  Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows and at the completion of each end, the scores for each arrow are summed up. The final score is the sum of all ends played.

The Paralympic competition format is identical to that of the Olympic Games. Archers shoot 72 arrows from a distance of 70 metres at a target of 122 cm. A perfect score is 720.

The World Archery Federation ( is the international governing body for archery and sets the rules of competition.

Archery Canada is Canada’s National Sport Organization (


Paralympic Archery offers both individual and team events for persons with spinal injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, and les autres. Depending on their functionality, persons with a disability can compete in one of three classes of competition:

  • Archery Standing (ARST): Athletes who have limited muscle strength, co-ordination and/or joint mobility in the legs and no disabilities in the arms, compete sitting in chair, feet on the ground, or standing.
  • Archery Wheelchair 1 (ARW1): Archers with a disability in their arms, legs and truck (tetraplegia) compete in a wheelchair.
  • Archery Wheelchair 2 (ARW2): Archers with limited mobility in the lower limbs, including paraplegia, compete in a wheelchair.

The classifications for archery are based on the IPC Classification Code.