Archery forced to go online in the age of COVID

The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected all aspects of everyday life, and archery hasn’t been excluded from that.

A popular option that’s quickly becoming the new norm in the archery world is remote competitions. The Lockdown Knockout took place earlier this September and included eight world-class compound archers competing remotely from their homes. High-level archers such as Bernardo Oliveira, Steve Wijler and Crispin Duenas were among those who took part in the event, with Duenas eventually winning.

Off of the success of that event, the Online Archery Cup of the Americas will be going remote. This event is the first remote archery tournament for athletes across the Americas, and was directly inspired by the Lockdown Knockdown. 

Top-ranked recurve and compound archers from nine divisions in both able-bodied and para categories will face off in matches that are set to be livestreamed for fans to watch. 

As qualifications for the tournament finished in August, feedback from the archers participating has been positive according to World Archery Americas, who are organizing the tournament. 

“The International Archery Federation had to cancel every event in 2020,” said Sergio Font, Secretary General at World Archery Americas. “So far, we’ve had very positive feedback. The athletes are happy because they get to compete again.”

Going online seems to be going over well with fans as well.

“We see in the chat we have on our Facebook live stream that our fans are very happy,” said Font. “Everyone’s happy to feel the stress and intensity of the competition.”

For Shawn Riggs, the national recurve coach with Archery Canada, training his teams has had its challenges, but also its benefits.

“We’ve maximized the non-shooting components of archery,” said Riggs. “We took our men’s team and did a whole bunch of training, personal development and sports psychology, and focused on the major components of the mental game. We unpacked a lot of stuff that most archers wouldn’t even consider to be a part of high-level archery.”

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being delayed until next year, archers will have to focus on the bullseye and their WiFi connection as qualifications ramp up in the coming months.