After not appearing in the last edition of the Parapan American Games in Lima, archery will be back in Santiago 2023 with a total of 48 spots divided equally between men and women.
The last appearance of archery in a Parapan American Games was in Toronto 2015. In Toronto, a total of 28 athletes from 8 different countries participated in the four open categories; the female category had the lowest number of participants with 5 female archers in recurve open and 5 in compound open.
The result of this low participation was that for the next edition of Lima 2019, archery left the Paralympic program. “When we were present in 2015 in Toronto, we failed to show that we had a lot of development and we had very few countries” commented the Secretary General of World Archery Americas, Sergio Font, during the meeting with the Federations in early June this year.
Since then, there has been hard work on the continent to return archery to the Parapan American program. Thanks to this joint and individual work by each of the national federations, we will see archery back in Santiago de Chile 2023.
In Santiago there are 10 places available in the four open categories, that is: in recurve women, recurve men, compound women and compound men. In addition, taking into account the number of W1 athletes in the Americas, 4 places were allocated in W1 men and also 4 places in W1 women.
How to qualify?
Unlike the Pan American Games, para athletes will have only one qualifying event for Santiago 2023. This event will be the Parapan American Championships in Santiago 2022 next November.
In this event there will be 7 spots available in the open categories and 2 spots for the W1 categories. The maximum number of spots a country can take is one in each category.
Likewise, there is one place in each category reserved for Chile, which is the host country.
The rest of the places will be given by invitation. Should any extra places become available, they will be reallocated in order to ensure that there is a diversity of countries competing.
If in any category the number of athletes is not reached, that place can be moved to another category, as long as the same competition class is kept. “We can move a spot from compound open women to recurve open women, for example. What we can’t do is move it to men because we have to comply with the 50% gender equity that is required” commented Font. “It’s important that they take this into account and collaborate with us because we can’t give back a single spot.”
There is more to do
The fact that archery is back on the Parapan American Games program is a great achievement, but it is not an assured accomplishment for the following editions. For archery to remain on the program, it is vital to see the participation of more athletes from different countries and not only from the big countries that usually compete, which are Brazil, the United States and Mexico. “We are happy that countries that have never competed before in Para events such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Peru said they will compete in the Pan American Championship,” said Font.
In addition to increasing the diversity of countries, the number of female athletes must also be increased. The participation of athletes in the female categories is still low compared to that of men in many of the countries of the continent.
But the possibilities of support are open for the development of the women’s categories. “If there is any federation that tells us that they have a woman in any of the Paralympic categories and they have difficulties with the material, but they commit that the woman will go to Chile, we will help them,” commented Font.
It is important that the national federations continue to take action if we want to see archery in future editions of the Parapan American Games and not just a temporary return in Santiago 2023.