Archery at the Commonwealth Games, why not in 2022?
The Commonwealth Games are currently taking place in the British city of Birmingham – but there’s no archery competition.
In fact, the sport has only appeared twice at the multisport event, first in Brisbane in 1982 and then most recently when the Games were held in Delhi in 2010. Why? Because archery is an optional sport and has to be selected for inclusion by the hosts.
Despite a proposal from archery’s national federation in England, Archery GB, which was supported by World Archery, there was an announcement in June 2019 that neither archery nor shooting would be added to the programme for Birmingham 2022.
Subsequent plans to host a Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in the Indian city of Chandigarh in early 2022 were scuppered by the pandemic.
The next Commonwealth Games will take place in 2026 in the Australian state of Victoria.
Archery remains an optional sport – and is not on the initial list of 16 already confirmed – but with up to a further 19 to be added by the end of 2022, when the final programme is announced, there’s still a chance it could be included.
Archery’s history at the Commonwealth Games
Two individual medals were awarded to archers at the 12th Commonwealth Games, the first to feature the sport, held in 1982 in Brisbane, Australia.
The competition format was standard for the era: a double 1440 Round, which was then called a double FITA, shot over four days. (A 1440 Round consists of 36 arrows shot over four distances; 90, 70, 50 and 30 metres for men; 70, 60, 50 and 30 metres for women.)
England’s Mark Blenkarne won the recurve men’s title, shooting 2446 points, while Neroli Fairhall of New Zealand took gold in the recurve women’s event in a tiebreak. Fairhall and Northern Ireland’s Janet Yates tied on 2373 points but Fairhall had more 10s.
At the age of 38, Fairhall would become the first paraplegic athlete to ever win a major able-bodied tournament with her victory in Brisbane. She would become the first para athlete to appear at the Olympic Games when she competed in Los Angeles just two years later.
Archery’s second appearance at the multisport event wouldn’t come until 2010.
Eight individual and team medals were awarded to recurve and compound archers at the 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
England’s compound archers dominated, with Nicky Hunt and Duncan Busby leading the country to sweep the four available medals. At the time, a then 25-year-old Hunt said, “I hope I’m not dreaming. I can’t put into words how much this means”.