Preview: Doubles debut at world para championships in Dubai

Phoebe Pine shoots during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

International para archery competition returns next week in Dubai, where nearly 300 world-class athletes will compete for world titles for the first time since mid-2019. (These upcoming World Archery Para Championships are taking place 12 months late due to pandemic restrictions.)

It’s the first time many of these archers will have been to a major event since the last Paralympics.

Among the storylines that have emerged ahead of the tournament is the striking success of the switch to a two-archer doubles format rather than three-archer teams for the single-gender competitions. Across the three eligible divisions, the change has more than doubled the number of entries from 29 (teams) to 64 (doubles).

Of course, titles will also be awarded in individual and mixed doubles events, too.

In total, 16 new world para champions will be crowned in Dubai.

Key information

What’s happening? The 13th edition of the World Archery Para Championships on 21-27 February 2022 at the Dubai Club for People of Determination in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

What’s at stake? World titles for para athletes.

Who’s competing? 232 archers from 40 countries.

What’s the story? Initially planned to take place in early 2021, these championships mark the first international para archery event since the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. This venue is popular, having hosted para world ranking events for nearly a decade, and athletes are excited to return to elite competition.

Event schedule

  • Tuesday 22 February: Compound qualifying
  • Wednesday 23 February: Compound eliminations
  • Thursday 24 February: Recurve, W1 and visually impaired qualifying
  • Friday 25 February: Compound finals; recurve and W1 team eliminations
  • Saturday 26 February: W1 finals; visually impaired finals; W1 eliminations
  • Sunday 27 February: Recurve finals; recurve eliminations

How to watch

World Archery is streaming all three medal sessions live on its YouTube channel.

  • Live: Compound finals – 25 February 16h00 UTC+4 (local)
  • Live: W1 finals – 26 February 16h00 UTC+4 (local)
  • Live: Recurve finals – 27 February 16h00 UTC+4 (local)

The visually impaired finals will not be streamed live but will be made available on demand after the event.

Live scores will be available on the World Archery website, and there will be coverage on World Archery’s digital platforms throughout the competition.

Competition categories

Four competition classifications will participate in the upcoming world championships.

The recurve and compound categories mirror those in able-bodied competition; aside from an extension to the time allowed to shoot an arrow, the competition formats and shooting equipment rules are exactly the same.

The W1 category is for the most impaired athletes, whose impairments affect at least three limbs and the torso, and they can use either bow, with weight and accessory limitations. The competition format is the same as for compound archers.

Recurve, compound and W1 archers are often classified to use a variety of assistive devices, ranging from wheelchairs and stools to mouth tabs and specialised release aids. What is permitted is dependent on each archer’s individual impairment.

The fourth and final category is for visually impaired archers. Two classifications (visually impaired 1 and visually impaired 2/3 have been combined in Dubai, ensuring a complete competition (complying with minimum attendance rules) and that a champion can be crowned. 

The favourites

These are the reigning para world champions from ’s-Hertogenbosch 2019:

*The visually impaired categories at the upcoming championships in Dubai have been combined due to lower entry numbers.

These are the reigning Paralympic Champions from Tokyo 2020:

These archers rank highest in the world arriving in Dubai:

  • Recurve men: Sadik Savas, Turkey (world rank: 1)
  • Recurve women: Zahra Nemati, Iran (world rank: 1)
  • Compound men: Marcel Pavlik, Slovakia (world rank: 1)
  • Compound women: Jess Stretton, Great Britain (world rank: 1)
  • W1 men: Bahattin Hekimoglu, Turkey (world rank: 1)
  • W1 women: Victoria Rumary, Great Britain (world rank: 1)
  • Visually impaired: Ruben Vanhollebeke, Belgium (world rank: 2)

The teams

A total of 232 archers from the national teams of the following 40 countries are registered to compete at these championships: Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, ROC, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine and the USA.

Notably absent are athletes from China, an historically successful team in para archery, who were unable to travel due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.