Tokyo 2020 Preview: Archery hopefuls take aim

Taylor Worth, Ryan Tyack and David Barnes are the men representing Australia in Archery at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Source: Olympics Australia/Website)

There are five different Archery events at Tokyo 2020, with the debut of a mixed event added this year. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

What is Archery for 2020, please Alex?

Archery at the Olympics has been around for more than 100 years, first appearing in 1900, and with women allowed to compete in the event in 1904, it was one of the first Olympic sports that included events for both genders.

For Australia in particular, they debuted in 1972 when Archery returned to the world stage, and have won gold once with Simon Fairweather taking home the medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, followed by Tim Cuddihy’s bronze medal at Athens in 2004. History was made at the Rio 2016 Olympics when Australia won bronze, which was the country’s first-ever team medal in Archery.

In Olympic Archery, the distance from the archer to their target is 70 metres. The target itself is 122cm in diameter and marked with 10 rings. To win, you must score higher than your opponent, and the closer you get to the middle of the target, the more points you win, with the centre worth 10 points, while the outer is one point.

At the Olympics, the only type of archery featured is recurve, which involves a bow that has tips that curve away from the archer when unstrung. The main aim of this kind of bow is accuracy.

Between 1988-2016, Olympic Archery involved four medal events, which were the women’s and men’s individuals, and the women’s and men’s teams. But for the first time in 2021, the Olympics will include a mixed team event.

The Archery events of both the Olympics and the Paralympics will all be held at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, which opened officially on the 28th of April 2020, and will continue to be a permanent archery venue following the Games.

Qualified?

64 archers will line up for the individual event, which starts with a ranking round. Once ranked, the archers will face each other in head-to-head matches in a single-elimination round before the semi-finals decide the gold and silver medallists, whilst the semi-finals losers battle for bronze.

Each team is allowed to enter six competitors, three per gender. Because there are 12 team spots available for each gender, this automatically means that 36 archers of both genders are qualified through team qualification. The rest of the individual spots are then filled by archers who can’t compete in the team events.

With the introduction of the mixed event, the qualification process happens during the ranking round. The top-scoring man and women of each Archery team will have their ranking round scores summed, with the top 16 teams then qualifying for the mixed event. Teams without both men and women qualified are unable to compete. 

Important dates

The ranking rounds occur will occur on July 23rd for both the men and the women, while the debut of the mixed team event will be on the 24th. The 25th and 26th of July are reserved for the women’s team event, and the men’s team event respectively, followed by five days of individual events.

Australia’s Archery Team

For Australia, the medal chances lie solely with three men by the name of Taylor Worth, Ryan Tyack and David Barnes. They will compete in the team event together, but will also face each other as individual opponents.

Worth began archery as a 10-year-old and was named Australian Archer of the Year in 2010, two years before he made his Olympics debut in London. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, he was one-third of the team who made Australian history as they became the first-ever team to win an Archery medal at a Games.

The second member of that group was Tyack, who has been involved with archery since he was just nine years old. Since Rio, Tyack has become the only archer to win four consecutive Australian Open titles, and in 2018 and 2019, took home World Cup bronze and silver respectively.

Rounding out the team is Barnes, who also began archery as a 9-year-old but has taken a vastly different route than his teammate. Barnes was 21 when he took a break from the sport, after debuting at 18 years of age at the Athens 2004 Olympics. But since picking the bow back up in 2017, he has gone on to win both silver and bronze World Cup medals. Tokyo 2020 will be his second Olympics, 16 years after his first.

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In Games past

At the Rio Olympics, it was a clean-sweep, as all four gold medals ended up around the necks of South Korean archers. Chang Hye-jin and Ku Bon-chan gained two each after winning both the individual event and contributing to their teams’ successes. Hye-jin was joined by Choi Mi-sun and Ki Bo-bae (who also took home bronze in the individual event), while Bon-chan’s teammates were Lee Seung-yun and Kim Woo-jin.

Australia’s history-making team at the Rio Olympics were Alec Potts, Ryan Tyack and Taylor Worth, while Alice Ingley also qualified, but lost in the round of 32.

Medal favourites

Whilst Australia isn’t exactly individual event medal favourites, there are some big names looking to secure gold including the USA’s Brady Ellison, who is a three-time Olympic medallist but is yet to win gold. He holds the world record, and is a two-time world champion, and has a great belief that Tokyo 2020 is his year.

Whilst South Korea’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Ku Bon-chan won’t be going back-to-back, his fellow countryman and 2016 gold medallist teammate Kim Woo-jin will still provide Ellison with a big challenge, as well as Mauro Nespoli from Italy and Bangladesh’s Ruman Shana.

Jean-Charles Valladont will also be returning to take another shot at the gold medal for France after taking silver home in 2016.

On the women’s side, South Korea’s previous gold medal winner Chang Hye-jin won’t be returning to the Olympic stage this year after failing to qualify twice, but her countrywoman in Kang Chae-young will no doubt be a fierce competitor.

As will German Rio silver medallist Lisa Unruh, who’s taking another crack at the crown. Chinese Taipei’s Lei Chien-ying, who won a bronze medal in the team event at Rio, and Deepika Kumari from India are also ones to watch.

Lei Chien-ying from Chinese Taipei is one of their best medal chances. (Source: worldarchery/website)

Archery will commence with the qualification round on the 23rd of July, as is customary, and will continue through to the 31st of July.

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