How does qualifying work in archery at the Olympics?

The qualifying field at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The archery competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics actually start before the Games officially begin – on the morning of the same day as the opening ceremony.

All 128 archers will shoot a qualifying round.

The results are used to seed the athletes and nations for the individual, mixed team and team competitions, effectively deciding their opponents in the competition.

Qualifying is simple. Archers shoot 72 arrows at the target set 70 metres away, in 12 ends (series) of six arrows. It takes about two hours.

They total their points scores, up to a maximum of 720, and are ranked from highest to lowest at the end of the round. An athlete’s position after the ranking round becomes their seed for matchplay.

Follow live results in the Tokyo 2020 section of this site.

Key information

What’s happening? Qualifying at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 23 July 2021.

What’s at stake? Seedings for the brackets, plus Olympic and world records.

Who’s competing? All 128 Olympic archers, 64 men and 64 women, in Tokyo.

What’s the story? The men’s world record has been broken at each of the last two Olympics. Surely, it’s the women’s turn. Only the top 16 qualifiers in the mixed team event will advance to matchplay on 24 July.

Results at Rio 2016

The top scorers in qualifying at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.


  1. Choi Misun, Korea – 669 (not competing)
  2. Chang Hye Jin, Korea – 666 (not competing)
  3. Ki Bo Bae, Korea – 663 (not competing)


  1. Kim Woojin, Korea – 700
  2. Brady Ellison, USA – 690
  3. David Pasqualucci, Italy – 685 (not competing)

World and Olympic records

Correct as of Thursday 22 July 2021.

Olympic records

  • Women individual: 673 – Lina Herasimenko, Ukraine (1996)
  • Women team: 2004 – Korea (2008)
  • Men individual: 700 – Kim Woojin, Korea (2016)
  • Men team: 2087 – Korea (2012)
  • Mixed team: None

World records

  • Women individual: 692 – Kang Chae Young, Korea (2019) 
  • Women team: 2053 – Korea (2018)
  • Men individual: 702 – Brady Ellison, USA (2019)
  • Men team: 2087 – Korea (2012)
  • Mixed team: 1388 – Korea (2019)
Kim Woojin after shooting a new world record at Rio 2016.


Times local (UTC+9).

09h00-11h00 – Women’s individual and team qualifying
13h00-15h00 – Men’s individual and team qualifying

Results of mixed team qualifying are released at the end of the men’s session.

Teams, mixed teams and the cut

Individual archers are ranked by the total of their 72 arrows after qualifying, with a maximum score of 720 points available.

Teams are ranked by the combined totals of their three members, with a maximum score of 2160 points available.

Mixed teams are ranked by the combined totals of the highest-scoring man and the highest-scoring woman from a single nation, with a maximum score of 1440 points available.

All 64 men, 64 women, 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams advance to the matchplay phase of the Olympic competition.

This is not the case for the mixed teams.

There are 29 nations with pairs in the inaugural Olympic event in Tokyo – but there is space for only 16 of those in the first round of eliminations on the morning of 24 July.

It means that the bottom 13 will be eliminated after qualifying.


1) The women’s Olympic record is almost guaranteed to fall.

At consecutive Olympics, the recurve men’s qualifying world record was raised to 699 and then 700 points by top Korean archers. It now stands at 702 thanks to Brady Ellison’s historic performance at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. 

The women’s Olympic record, however, has stood at 673 points since 1996. The score is, by today’s standards, relatively low – but a combination of bad weather and scheduling have conspired to keep it protected.

It was actually beaten at Athens 2004 by Park Sung-Hyun, but qualifying took place well before the Olympics, so it wasn’t counted as a record. There’s no such quirky rule here in Tokyo – so expect the record to finally fall.

2) Who makes the mixed team cut?

The fight for the top 16 seeds – and tickets into the first round of the matchplay event – will be fierce.

Especially for those nations that only have individual quotas for these Games, both archers must perform on the day. Any slip up could prove disastrous, ending a budding Olympic campaign before it’s even begun.

The top qualifier’s score in the pairs event will be ratified as a new Olympic record as it is the competition’s debut at the Games.

3) One at a time.

Due to social distancing guidelines in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, every archer in Tokyo has their own target to shoot qualifying.

(It’s normally two to a target at the Olympics.)

It is, to this writer’s knowledge, the first time this has happened. It’ll make it much easier for the athletes, watching media and broadcast cameras to see how each is performing. How will they cope with the spotlight?