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As part of the build up to the Olympics this year, SportsCover Direct will be publishing a series of blogs shedding some light on some of the lesser known Olympic sports and showing how you can get involved in the sport!
In approximately 2800BC the first very early bow was made by the Egyptians and used initially for combat purposes. Many armies would have archers who were highly trained and skilled and able to take out opposition from many miles away. By the end of the 16th century archery for use in combat had ceased in a large number of countries and the bow was used as a hunting weapon or in sport. English Archery societies and sport groups started appearing in the 16th and 17th century and the sport continued to grow in popularity up to the present day. The sport was introduced into the Olympics at the 1900 Paris Games before a break of 52 years in 1920 and then making a comeback in 1972.
Archery is a great sport for all the family. Any one and any age can participate as long as you can hold a bow so from 6-year-olds to grandparents it is fun for all. It is also a great sport for disability and often in competitions disabled participants compete against able bodied archers.
Most archery clubs will require members to have had some previous tuition and experience before joining. Most people will become fairly proficient within 6 weeks and a course of this length will likely cost in the region of £20-50. Archery club memberships cost around £35 a year but may vary depending on size and location.
At first most courses and clubs will provide the equipment which is of course the bow and arrow, guard and a target. If you do end up buying your own, then good brands are Hoyt for bows and Easton for arrows.
Archery is a year round sport with clubs moving to indoor facilities when the weather gets colder from October to March.
Archery is a good sport for toning the upper body and strengthening the back. Repeatedly lifting and drawing the bow works the arms and shoulders and the majority of the work of shooting is done by the scapula muscles in the back. It also burns calories as in a competition archers can walk many miles between targets. Focus is another important skill for an archer and therefore the sport can sharpen the mind and reduce stress.
Archery has historically not yielded great medal hopes for Team GB with only 9 medals ever won in the sport and the last in Athens in 2004. Names to look out for are Bradley Denny and Amy Oliver who could do well in Rio.
If this has inspired you to give Archery a go then check out the Archery GB website to find your local archery club and more about the sport!