History of World Archery

Image: Congress luncheon at Lwow 1931 World Archery Championships (© Emil Heilborn)

Founded on 4 September 1931 in Lwow, Poland (now known as Lviv, Ukraine) as Fédération Internationale de Tir à l'Arc or FITA, by seven countries – France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, USA, Hungary and Italy – the international archery federation’s mission was to promote archery worldwide through the unification of rules and development of international events.

The constituent assembly was made up of Gaston Quentin , Gaston Ducatel , Paul Demare , Kalman von Kenderessy , Attilio Battistoni , Bronislaw Pierzchala , Captain Mieczyslaw Fularski , Jeanne Kurkowska , General J Akerman , Emil Heilborn , Beda Pilotti , Jan Horn , Jaroslav Fiala  and JK Boles . General Charles E Macquoid joined to represent Great Britain.

The assembly adopted the statutes and competition regulations that made up the first World Archery Constitution and Rulebook and passed the organisation’s first motion.

It was a wish of the founding members for archery to be put back on the Olympic Programme. (The sport was included in 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1920 before being removed.) The first motion of the first World Archery Congress was to put a request to the International Olympic Committee to reintroduce archery to the Olympic Games.

This goal would be achieved 41 years later, when archery was included at Munich 1972.

World Archery was the first international federation to elect a female president – Inger Frith in 1961: an early example of gender equity in sports. Archery was also one of the first sports to include a women’s event at the Olympic Games (St Louis 1904) and have an equal number of quota places available to both men and women (Atlanta 1996).

The headquarters of the federation moved to the Olympic Capital of Lausanne in November 1996, to be close to the centre of the Olympic Movement. World Archery was strongly supportive of the Maison du Sport International project and, following the completion of the new office complex in Lausanne in 2006, relocated into the building.

In 2005, Prof Dr Ugur Erdener was elected World Archery President and he quickly initiated a number of projects designed to increase the sport’s importance internationally through the launch of an Archery World Cup and the World Archery Plan.

With the principle of putting archery in iconic and memorable locations, the sport’s first international and annual competition circuit was launched in 2006. The Archery World Cup consisted of four stages and an invitational final, to which the best athletes of the year were invited, and was open to recurve and compound archers. In 2015, the Archery World Cup celebrated its 10th anniversary. During its first decade, events on the Archery World Cup circuit were held in the Mayapan Pyramids in Mexico, next to the Bosphorus in Istanbul, in Copenhagen’s Nyhavn Canal, under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne among other places.

The first World Archery Plan was launched in 2007 to lead into the London 2012 Olympic Games. Its mission was to make archery an important Olympic sport. Following World Archery’s promotion in Olympic revenue distribution categories following London 2012, the plan was declared a success. The second phase of the World Archery Plan began in 2014, with the mission to support member associations to make archery an important Olympic sport within nations around the world.

The name of the federation was officially changed to World Archery at Congress in Turin 2011, following the launch of a modern rebrand in 2009 and the retirement of the FITA identity.

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