Remote competitions have become more popular as worldwide restrictions in place to combat COVID-19 are lessened – but not completely lifted.

A group in Japan has organised one of the largest online events held yet with 1035 archers taking part over the weekend of 1-2 August, many entering from abroad.

It was a simple, 72-arrow, top-score wins tournament. (Which is the format for many normal events in Japan.) It wasn’t officially recognised by the Japanese federation, didn’t offer recognition for records or any rankings – but it did attract an impressive number of participants.

All archers had to do was shoot and submit their points total – through the free-to-use Ianseo application and email over a scanned paper scoresheet – before 13h00 in Japan on Sunday 2 August.

There were 32 categories, including some for youth, university and masters age groups, and even some for coaches. 

The national team of Bhutan used it as a training event. Karma, who qualified the Himalayan country its first Olympic archery place last year, came third in the recurve women’s competition, shooting 656 points.

(It’s particularly significant because the score is way above the minimum of 605 she needs to hit in recognised competition to be eligible to attend the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next summer.)

Bhutan and a team from Japan went on to shoot matches over Zoom, too.

Long-time Japanese team member Kaori Kawakana was the top-scoring recurve woman in the online tournament with 663. Brady Ellison led all recurve men, shooting 698 points for the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round and beating his USA teammate Jack Williams by five.

Toja Ellison was the number one compound woman on 704 and Junji Sasaki the highest-scoring compound man with 702.

Certificates will be sent out by email.

But realistically, for most who took part, shooting arrows for a result sheet was probably more important than the result itself. Archery is a sport after all – and while it’s one that is very individual, it’s also a sport that’s best practised together.

We’re lucky that, even in these challenging times, people are finding a way to do just that.

Images courtesy participants in the event/Facebook.

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