Archery guide - London 2012 Olympic Games



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Your complete guide to archery ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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Converted: An ancient art dating back to the Pharaohs, once a vital means of survival and battle, enacted on the modern stage by bowmen with breathtaking powers of concentration and accuracy.  

Confused: People standing still for ages, repeatedly firing arrows at the same round thing. Like darts without the larger-than-life characters.

Archery - The essential guide

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Street cred: Today's pros could shoot apples off the top of children’s heads from several blocks away, although they would not be allowed to for health and safety reasons.  

Who’s good? South Korea and China bagged most of the medals at Beijing 2008.

Glory-hunting potential: Britain’s team bombed at the Beijing Olympics, coming home medal-less. But national funding for the sport has since increased by 60 per cent and Archery GB says it is confident of achieving its minimum aim of one Olympic and five Paralympic medals at London 2012.

The basics: The archer fires an arrow at a multi-coloured, ringed target from 70m away, winning more points the closer to the centre it lands.

Athlete to watch: South Korea’s Im Dong-Hyun is one of the world’s top archers despite the fact that he is legally blind. Jedi skills.

As seen in: ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1991). You know it’s true...

Not to be confused with: Prose written in the style favoured by novelist Jeffrey Archer.

Almost useless fact: Archery is also known as toxophily.

Do say: ‘I expect the British toxophilites to perform better than their disappointing show in Beijing, especially with the extra millions ploughed into the team.’

Don't say: ‘You’ll have someone’s eye out with that.’

British Olympic hopeful - Alan Wills

What would your advice be to someone taking up archery?

Prepare to work hard and be in it for the long haul because success doesn't just happen overnight, it takes years and years and years and years.

If the monarchy suddenly disbanded, which song would you want played at your gold-medal ceremony instead of the national anthem?

‘The Drugs Don't Work’ by The Verve.

Who’s your Olympics crush?

Sharron Davies.

What goes through your head while competing? Do you have any mental tricks, or superstitions?

It's better not to think but just to be kind of brain-dead. There is one superstition but I probably shouldn't say... well, relieving yourself a few days before a competition. Two days before.

What physical aspect of yourself are you most proud of?

I was going to say my six-pack but I've lost that now. I will have it back by London, though. When it comes to competition period my diet changes a lot to keep my strength up. Also, my blue eyes.

What is the most common misconception about your sport?

That the men wear tights like Robin Hood, and all that stuff. A lot of people think it’s an easy sport to do. But you need to do it six days a week, eight hours a day for 10 years to get on the British team.

Users say


I will be attending the whole week as a judge. Just want to wish everyone good luck and I will see you there!!