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September 23, 2013

World Archery Congress Preview

BELEK ANTALYA, Turkey - The 50th World Archery Congress will take place just before the World Archery Championships, this September 27-28. There are twelve motions on the table for vote, several of which could have great impact on archery tournament formats and scoring systems. 

BIG Potential Game Changers:

      Eliminate the four-distance "FITA Round" from all international competition

      Set Match play to be standard for all recurve elimination matches, indoors and outdoors.

      Reclassification of Para-Archery divisions

The Breakdown:

To mirror the format of the Olympic Games, there has recently been much debate regarding the abolishment of the FITA round from major international competition, so that archers would compete only at a single distance, followed by elimination matches. Following are some of the pros and cons that archery fans have noted in discussing the possible changes: 

            PROS:

      Simplifies tournament planning and logistics

      Allows for more concise events

      Opportunity to level the playing field

CONS:

      Over simplification of the sport

      No differentiation between prestige of World Archery Championships, World Archery Youth Championships and the Olympic Games

      FITA Round is a huge part of the history of target archery

Whether or not the "FITA Round" is eliminated, the 144-arrow round (at any distance) stands to be renamed, as there is a motion before the Congress which will change the name of the round to the "1440 Round" - or "Double 1440 Round." The proposed change in terminology is meant to bring the names of the rounds in line with the correct and current name of the International Governing Body's name: the World Archery Federation.

In addition, the recent success of the Set System for recurve individual elimination matches has spurred a motion to establish Set Match play as the standard for all recurve elimination matches. This would mean the Set System would also be used for team and mixed team elimination matches, instead of cumulative scoring.

PROS:

      Clearly diversifies recurve competition from compound

      Allows media and inexperienced spectators a format that is easy to

      Possibility of shorter matches as a match can be resolved in three or four sets instead of always needing five.

      Favors the less consistent shooter; one bad shot does not determine an entire match 

CONS:

      Does not necessarily favor the more consistent shooter

With respect to Para-Archery, based upon requests from athletes represented by the Para-Archery Committee, along with the Constitution and Rules Committee, there is a motion to change the categories for Para-Archery to Open Recurve, Open Compound and Open W1 for Men and Women. Open means that the classifications for Standing and W2 would be combined to create a more universal competition at major events. The general consensus seems to agree, "the merge of standing and W2 will give a more competitive and universal competition at Paralympics and major events. Also the creation of an open W1 event will permit the more severe[ly] disabled to have a good and appropriate competition."

Why does it matter to me?

These propositions are all submitted with the main intention of raising archery to a higher and more unified standard of competition. While on an international level, these changes would affect many World Archery events and even potentially the Olympic Games, they could also lead to eventual changes within national events. As World Archery member associations tend to reflect the procedures and standards of their International Governing Body, could this mean the end of recurve team cumulative match scoring? Will USA Archery embrace the single-distance round instead of the four-distance FITA? 

How can I learn more?

The World Archery Congress will actually be available to follow on a live stream via Archery TV here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvPStSJPOhY. More information about the congress and motions on the table can be found on World Archery's page here: http://www.worldarchery.org/en-us/home/organisation/congress/2013belekantalya(tur).aspx

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