Archery is truly one of the world’s oldest and most ancient sports. It is closely linked to the development of civilization and as a cultural advance, comparable to the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel. While Archery competitions date back to 1200 BC, it first appeared in the Olympic Games of 1900. Archery was the only sport contested in the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, which was the first organized competition for wheelchair athletes and the inspiration for the Paralympic movement. Male and female Archers compete in two primary categories based upon bow type (recurve or compound) and shoot varying distances based upon their age and physical challenge(s).


  • Bow (Recurve or Compound) including Bow String
  • Arrows (1 doz. required for competition)
  • Quiver
  • Finger Tab; Mouth Tab; Shoulder or Mechanical Release
  • Arm Guard



Any archer can apply to be classified at the international level through their national governing body. A classification does not necessarily make an athlete eligible to compete in a para archery division, but may make them eligible to compete with an assistive device.

Para archery competition classifications currently consist of open, W1 and visually impaired categories. Only a thorough classification examination may determine whether an athlete can compete in any category, however there are basic differences between the three.


Athletes may have impairment in the legs and use a wheelchair or have a balance impairment and shoot standing or resting on a stool. Open category athletes may shoot in recurve or compound competitions, under standard rules, and the category is featured at the Paralympic Games.


Athletes may have impairment in the legs and make use of a wheelchair. W1 athletes may shoot either a recurve or compound bow modified from standard rules, do not have separate competitions for the two disciplines, and the category is featured at the Paralympic Games.


Athletes may have impairment in their vision. V1 athletes must wear blindfolds or black-out glasses while competing. V1, V2/3 athletes use tactile sights and are permitted an assistant sitting or standing one metre behind the shooting line to relay information about the position of the arrows in the target, safety and help with scoring.​ The category is currently not featured at the Paralympic Games.