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How does the scoring system in archery work at the Olympics?

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari (Source: World Archery)

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari (Source: World Archery)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 20 July 2021 4:58 AM GMT

All you need to know about certain rules pertaining to archery at the Olympics. Archery is not a complex sport to understand given that the end result outrightly depends on the highest total cumulative score in the event. However, there are certain formats that are to be kept in mind with Recurve Archery for the upcoming Olympics. We take a look at the notable rules and regulations that should be looked out for in the tournament.

Recurve Archery Rules

Number of events

There are a total of 5 events lined up. The individual men's event and women's event, the men's team and women's team event, and the mixed team event.

Individual Events

There are a total of 64 competitors each in both the men's and women's categories. The seeding for the event will take place with each archer shooting a total of 72 arrows in order to be given a rank from 1-64. Th will then lead to an individual face-off based on the rank that is allotted to the archers. The elimination will be single elimination for every round beginning from the round of 64. The archers will face opponents who have corresponding high ranks. Eg. Rank 1 will face rank 64, rank 2 will face rank 63, etc.

Team Events

There are a total of 12 teams out of which are 4 are considered as top seeds and they receive a bye into the quarter-finals as a result. The remaining teams placed from 5th to 12th are to battle it out for the next 4 positions that are up for grabs.


The basic scoring rules are the same for individual and team events. Every round will have a certain number of sets each with archers expected to win the most number of sets.

In the individual event, three arrows will be shot per set by each archer with the highest cumulative scorer giving the respective archer 2 points in total. In the event that the set is tied, each archer gets 1 point. If at the end of 5 sets, the archers have the same number of points, then there will be a single arrow shoot-off to determine the winner based on the arrow that is closest to the centre.

What is the target?

There are 5 notable and visible colours that are marked out on the target placed on a large board. Each colour is allotted two circles and each circle measures 12.2 cm in width. The points per colour in order of the distance outwards to the centre is:

1)White scores 1-2 points

2) Black scores 3-4 points

3) Blue scores 5-6 points

4)Red scores 7-8 points

5)Yellow scores 9-10 points

Other rules and regulations during events

Each archer in all the events has a total time of 20 seconds to shoot the arrow. Failing to do so within the stipulated time makes the score 0 for that particular shot.

For team matches, each team has a total of two minutes to shoot 6 arrows per set. The second team can only shoot after the first team has shot all the arrows of that set in no particular order. The team that reaches 6 setpoints first wins.

In order to qualify for the team event with a maximum cap of 12 teams per gender, a country must be within the top 8 as per the World Archery Championships to make up 8 spots. One spot is reserved for the host country while 3 other spots can be claimed by the top 3 teams at the World Qualification Tournament.

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