There are several forms of archery, including Target Archery, Field Archery, Clout Archery and Flight Archery, but it is in the Target Archery category that Archers of Raunds shooting members participate.
It is target archery that forms part of the Olympic games and with over one hundred member nations around the world and over 1,000 registered archery clubs in the UK alone, it is not hard to see why this remains one of the more common forms of archery available nationwide. It is so popular, that the hundred nations are represented by the Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (F.I.T.A - now known as the World Archery Federation) which is the International Governing Body for the sport.
Target archery is split into numerous rounds shot over metric and imperial distances up to 100 metres, with indoor rounds not exceeding 30 metres. As a general rule, archers shoot a fixed number of arrows, over a set number of ends, at a target set at a specific distance away. The type and size of the target varies from round to round and some rounds include different sized target faces as the bosses (the backing material, usually compact straw or foam rubber, to which targets are attached) come closer to the archer as the round progresses. For example a Metric III round is shot at 50m, 40m, 30m and lastly 20m, with the target face being changed for a smaller face at the 30m mark.
Most people associate target archery with the familiar 10 zone targets with colours running white (1 or 2 points), black, blue, red and finally gold (yellow and worth 9 or 10 points). However, for some rounds this 10 zone target becomes a 5 zone scoring target and other rounds see the target face change completely (black with a small white central area, 3-Spot targets, etc.). This varies things up a little and makes for some more interesting challenges.
A round is split into ends, which consist of either 3 or 6 arrows being shot per end. When all archers have shot their arrows for the end (or they are timed off the line for some competition shoots) the arrows are scored before being retrieved ready for the next end. At the end of the round (shoot) all of the ends are totalled and the winner is simply the archer with the highest score in their category.
Target archery is possibly unique in a number of ways. Firstly, (other than in head to head competitions) the sport sets the archer in opposition with themselves and not another person (gaining personal bests and lowering their handicap), whilst at the same time offering competition where several archers compete for the highest overall score. Secondly, the sport enables archers to compete against archers of different ages and abilities, with younger archers usually shooting at a closer range than older archers able to pull more poundage. Thirdly, the sport is available to just about anyone with any ability. As long as the archer can pick up and hold a bow, take aim and safely shoot the arrow, then they should be able to participate. AoR is not specifically set-up for blind archers because it needs special equipment, although we have had a partially blind archer recently who has gone on to shoot very well. However, archery can be undertaken by people in wheelchairs, who are deaf, who have other disabilities, etc.
Since 1972, target archery has been permanently established in the Olympic games. The sport has recently seen paraplegic archers shooting alongside able bodied archers and back in 1982 a paraplegic archer took the Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games. However, archery is a most ancient sport and it has documented roots right back to the medieval longbows used at Crecy in 1346 and Agincourt in 1415. The oldest recorded UK competitive event was held in Scotland around 1483. The sport's Olympic history can be traced back to the early 1900s, 1908 being the first British Olympics to hold archery and in which British entrants took the ladies' Silver medal and the Gold in the men's competition.