Beginners’ guide to the Paralympic qualification process for Tokyo 2020

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There are a limited number of spaces for athletes in all of the sports at the Paralympic Games. Since 2008, archery has had 140 spots. A qualification system that covers multiple events decides who fills those places.

The process officially starts at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships and ends with the final qualifying tournament, held not long before the Paralympics begin.

This is a simple explanation of how para archers will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The breakdown

There are places for 80 men and 60 women across the three Paralympic divisions at the Games in Tokyo.

  • 32 recurve men
  • 24 recurve women
  • 36 compound men
  • 24 compound women
  • 12 W1 men
  • 12 W1 women

Who wins the place?

Athletes that win a place in competition will not necessarily attend the Paralympics. Quotas are assigned to a National Paralympic Committee, which must accept the spot and subsequently nominate the athlete that fills it.

Maximum quotas

Unlike the Olympic Games, where teams may only have one or three athletes competing in each category, the maximum number of athletes per country at the Paralympic Games varies in each division.

  • Recurve men – 2 (3 with individual or mixed team world champion)
  • Recurve women – 2 (3 with individual or mixed team world champion)
  • Compound men – 2 (3 with individual or mixed team world champion)
  • Compound women – 2 (3 with individual or mixed team world champion)
  • W1 men – 2
  • W1 women – 1 (2 with individual or W1 mixed team world champion)

The additional quota place for the world champion title is not cumulative. The maximum number of athletes per team in a single category never exceeds three.

Schedule of events

The official selection procedure is available as a document attached to this article.

June 2019 – World Archery Para Championships

A total of 80 places are available at the first qualification event – the world championships.

The top four mixed teams in all three divisions – recurve, compound and W1 – receive one man and one women’s place. That makes 24 spots awarded through the mixed team competitions.

The highest-ranked athletes in each individual events, who did not qualify spaces in the team events, also win places.

  • 16 recurve men
  • 8 recurve women
  • 20 compound men
  • 8 compound women
  • 2 W1 men
  • 2 W1 women

Each team can only qualify up to their maximum number of places – which is one, two or three depending on the category and whether they win the world championship title or not.

As the host of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Japan receives one spot in each category that the country enters an athlete – up to its maximum quota.

Summer 2019-Spring 2020 – Continental championships

There are continental qualification tournaments held in the Americas, Asia and Europe, with five men’s and five women’s places available at each event for the top finishers.

  • 2 recurve men
  • 2 recurve women
  • 2 compound men
  • 2 compound women
  • 1 W1 men
  • 1 W1 women

Only teams from the respective continent can compete in each event. Nations can only enter athletes into categories where they do not already have any quota places secured.

The schedule of continental qualification tournaments is as follows:

Spring/Summer 2020 – Final qualification tournament

Two places in each of the six categories are available at the final qualification tournament. Additional spots may be added if any places are not accepted by National Paralympic Committees – or if the spots were not allocated at previous events.

Teams can only win a maximum of one space in each category – and nations can only enter athletes into categories where they do not already have any quota places secured.

The final qualification tournament will take place in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on 15-21 June 2020.

July 2020 – Universality spaces

A number of places are given to countries from a list identified by the International Paralympic Committee in order to support sport development and equality. This happens at every Paralympics and helps progress the competitive ambitions of emerging nations in para sport.

There are 12 universality spots across two Paralympic divisions in Tokyo. No universality places will be awarded in the W1 division.

  • 3 recurve men
  • 3 recurve women
  • 3 compound men
  • 3 compound women

Minimum standard

To fill a quota place, an athlete must have reached a minimum level of performance. This is measured by their best competition score for the 72-arrow ranking round (70 or 50 metres depending on category). Athletes must have shot this score at a world record status competition in the qualification time period.

The minimum qualification scores for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are as follows. (All out of a maximum of 720 points.)

  • Recurve men: 570
  • Recurve women: 530
  • Compound men: 650
  • Compound women: 620
  • W1 men: 590
  • W1 women: 520

Naming Paralympians

There is an official process in the lead up to the Paralympic Games where each National Paralympic Committee first confirms its places, then confirms its athletes.

Nations may pick their Paralympians however they choose – and there is wide variation in the selection processes from country to country.

The archery competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games begin on 28 August.