Investigation into Minsk 2019 appeal to result in improved scoring and judging procedures

A report into a competition incident and appeal at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus has been accepted by World Archery’s executive board and, as a result, Spain’s recurve men’s place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been officially approved.

Validation of the category‘s results was pending the outcome of an investigation into a third-round match between Sjef van den Berg of the Netherlands and Dan Olaru of Moldova.

During the European Games, the match was initially called in favour of Sjef, 6-4, by the target judge. Moldova subsequently filed an appeal and the result was adjusted to a tiebreak by the jury.

There was approximately an hour delay between the initial end of the match and the shoot-off, during which time no other match took place. The Dutch team was not informed of the situation until the end of this period.

Dan Olaru won the tiebreak, 10-9, and progressed to the next round. Sjef van den Berg was eliminated.

World Archery launched an investigation, led by secretary general Tom Dielen, into the scoring and appeal procedures, and how the rules were applied by judges and the jury. It weighed factual evidence and statements from a range of people present in Minsk.

The final report identifies faults in several areas.

It found unreliability in the scoring procedure at the target, a misapplication of the rules from the jury of appeal and a lack of clarity around the overall appeal process.

World Archery has now implemented the following recommendations from the report. It is expected that World Archery Europe and the other continental federations will follow suit.

  • The target judge responsible for the match has been sanctioned. 
  • The scoring procedure is being reviewed with an update expected for all international judges in the coming months.
  • The appeal procedure is being reviewed with ORIS, the standard for international results based on the Olympic Games, and will soon be updated.
  • The guidelines on jury of appeal composition at major events are being reviewed.
  • The judge committee is reviewing the number of sessions for which a judge can be active during a tournament. This will result in a requirement of the number of officials in line with the demands of each event’s schedule.

The results of the recurve men’s competition at the 2019 European Games in Minsk have now been recognised in full as, according to the rules, decisions made on the day of the event are deemed final.

Pablo Acha defeated Dan Olaru in the quarterfinals and ultimately went on to qualify an Olympic quota place for Spain by finishing in third. This spot for the Games is now official.

World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen said: “This was a regrettable incident at an important event that offered places to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.“

“Our investigation is not about the results of the event itself, because those decisions have already been made, but it is about learning from the situation. We fully expect that the changes we have already implemented will strengthen judging procedures and make the management of major tournaments more robust.”