Archery GB has confirmed that it has delivered a proposal for archery’s inclusion in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as an additional optional sport.
The organisation was joined by representatives from World Archery and Archery England to present a vision that would broaden the diversity of the sport programme at the Games and provide exciting opportunities for the growth of archery across the Commonwealth.
The bid focused on archery’s accessibility as a world-class spectator sport, its inclusivity and wide appeal as a grass-roots activity, and delivering a strong post-Games legacy.
Due to rules regarding the bidding process, no specific information has been made public concerning the structure of the competition, but it is thought that both recurve and compound archery are likely to be included.
The bid includes Aston Hall as a suggested competition venue. Near to existing Games venue Villa Park, the picturesque 17th-century building and grounds would provide excellent facilities and spotlight one of Birmingham’s popular historical landmarks. Aston Hall is also notable for being the suggested archery venue for Birmingham’s failed Olympic bid of 1992.
The decision on whether additional optional sports may be included in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected at some point in early 2019.
World Archery secretary-general Tom Dielen said: “Archery’s proposal to Birmingham 2022 featured an inclusive sport engagement programme that would build on the excitement that the Commonwealth Games generate.”
“We see the Games as both a world-class competition and an opportunity to inspire future athletes across the Commonwealth.”
Archery GB CEO Neil Armitage said: “We are excited by the prospect of archery being added to the sport programme of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
“Projects are already running to connect archery with communities in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and inclusion would be a catalyst to expand these initiatives and inspire people to take up the sport.”
“Archery captured the imagination of British sporting fans during the London 2012 Olympic Games and we hope to recapture that spirit in 2022.”
Unlike the Olympic Games, where archery is a core sport that retains a permanent role in the line-up, the sport is optional in the Commonwealth Games.
The last time it was contested at the Commonwealth Games was in 2010 in Delhi, when the competition was held at the Yamuna Sports Complex. This was notable for being the first major win for Indian superstar Deepika Kumari in women’s recurve, with her compatriot Rahul Banerjee taking the men’s recurve title.The compound titles were won by England’s Nicky Hunt and (regular Bow contributor) Duncan Busby.
Kumari now features on the promotional poster for the bid (above).
Previous to that archery’s only Commonwealth outing was back in 1982 at the Brisbane edition of the Games. This featured recurve competition only, in the older ‘double FITA’ round scoring system used in the Olympics from 1972 to 1984. The men’s event was won by England’s Mark Blenkaine and the women’s by New Zealand’s Neroli Fairhall, notable for being the first ever paraplegic competitor at the Olympic Games.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games was confirmed for Birmingham, UK at a session in December 2017. (It should also be noted that the World Games, an entirely separate multi-sport competition, is being held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA in 2021).