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Archers prepare for biggest Paralympic competition ever

29 August 2012
London (GBR)
The Royal Artillery Barracks in Greenwich is getting ready to host the biggest ever Paralympic archery competition since the event was included in the Paralympic programme in 1960, with 140 athletes competing from 29 countries.

2008 team champions: FU Hongzhi, GAO Fangxia, XIAO Yanhong (CHN)   

Having won the majority of medals on offer at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (seven in total – two gold, three silver, two bronze) the Chinese team is seven-strong in London. Along with Korea who is fielding nine athletes, China is expected to dominate the medals table in the 2012 competition.   The team includes Beijing gold medallist CHENG Changjie, silver medallists FU Hongzhi and GAO Fangxia, and bronze medallists CHEN Yegang and XIAO Yanhong.   Although Korea won comparatively few medals in Beijing (three in total), they are strong contenders for the team event at London 2012. The team includes LEE Hwa Sook, who won gold in recurve women standing in Beijing, and KO Hee Sook and KIM Ran Sook, the three of whom collectively won silver in the team recurve open event at the Turin 2011 World Championships.   Some favourites in the individual competition are:   Ø Danielle BROWN (GBR)—the compound women open Paralympic champion and world champion also shoots in non-para events and is world-ranked No. 10. Ø XIAO Yanhong (CHN)—the recurve women W2 bronze medallist at Beijing 2008 went on to win the 2011 World Archery Para Championships and is looking strong heading into London 2012. Ø Philippe HORNER (SUI)—the compound men open bronze medallist from Beijing 2008 is returning to the Paralympic stage in great form after beating defending Paralympic champion John STUBBS (GBR) in the 2011 World Archery Para Championships. Ø Matt STUTZMAN (USA)—the compound men open archer is aiming for his first Paralympic medal at London 2012. At the USA team trials earlier this year, STUTZMAN left no doubt in anyone's mind that he deserves his place on the team when he broke two national records and missed the world record of 700 by only one point. STUTZMAN recently set a Guinness World Record by hitting a target from a distance of 230m, the longest shot by any archer. Ø Baatarjav DAMBADONDOG (MGL)—the winner of Mongolia's first Paralympic medal, when he edged out France's Fabrice MEUNIER 94-90 to take gold at Beijing 2008, should face a stiff challenge from 2011 para world champion DONG Zhi (CHN) in London.    Competition format   London 2012 will see a changed competition format from Beijing 2008 in the individual events. Previously a 12-arrow (four ends of three) total score system, it will now follow a sets-based system. The archers still shoot ends of three arrows (called sets) but each end is a competition with in itself. Two points are awarded for a win, one for a tie and zero for a loss. The first archer to reach six points wins.   The sets format arguably makes for a more exciting match because even if an archer misses the target entirely, through equipment failure or otherwise, they are only one set down so can still go on to win the match.   The competition starts with a 72-arrow Ranking Round for all athletes on Thursday, 30 August and progresses into the head-to-head knockout stages with medal matches from 3-5 September.   Source: PNS Edited by World Archery Communication