Olympics 2008: Archery in China

Approximately ca. 1000 years later, archery was a strong anchored part of Chinese culture. Scholars of Confucian wisdoms made archery a ritual that was to symbolize virtue and values. However, in 1901 after China had to deal with many military setbacks, the Chinese Government decided to disband archery from all military training programs and forbid teaching it in (sports) schools. After the occupation of China by Japan during WWII, any interest and training in archery became completely extinct.

The type of archery that is very popular today has its roots mainly in the classical Japanese martial art technique of the Samurai: Kyodo. Archery became Olympic sport in 1900, although 20 years later it was cancelled from the programme until it was reintroduced at the Olympic Games in Munich 1972.
During the last three Olympic Games alone, China managed to double the number of gold medals won. The number of gold medals that were awarded in 1996 in Atlanta was 16, and it increased in Athens 2004 to 32 – what an improvement! The archery competition at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 will extend over seven days, taking place from 9th to 15th August. The competitions will be held on the ‘Olympic Green Archery Field’ in the Olympic Park. Men and women take part in separated competitions, though they have however similar targets in size (1.22m) and the same distance to the target (70m).  

It is expected that 128 atheletes will take part in the archery competitions at the Olympics 2008. However, only a maximum of 6 athletes may be nominated by each National Olympic Committee, three of each sex. At least three athletes are needed for the team competition.

As you can see from the table below, the Chinese athletes were until now not particularly successful in Olympic Games. Although archery certainly does not belong to the most popular disciplines, as generally known, it provides good opportunities to improve the medals table of their own country. Therefore one can certainly assume that China has provided archers with certain supportive aids during the last years.

List of previous successes at the Olympic Games in Archery: 

Athens 2004:

Lin Sang: silver
Zhang JuanJuan: silver
He Ying: silver

Sydney 2000:

No medals

Atlanta 1996:

He Ying: silver

Barcelona 1992:

Ma Xiangjun: silver
Wang Hong: silver
Wang Xiaozhu: silver

Seoul 1988:

No medals


Los Angeles 1984:

Li Lingjuan: silver, individual

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