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Australia’s archery history at the Commonwealth Games

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The Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games welcomed back archers and their bow and quivers to the athletes’ village when the sport made its second appearance at the Commonwealth Games.

Archery maintains the status as an optional sport in the Commonwealth Games sport programme, whereby the host nation may choose to include archery in its event program for the Games.

Indian games officials decided to include the historic sport on the event schedule given the popularity of the sport in the country, but the first and only other time archery had been included on the program was at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games.

The Brisbane events were held from 2 October to 5 October 1982 at the Murarrie Recreation Reserve, where the sport had a relatively modest Commonwealth Games debut.

With 36 athletes from 15 nations competing in just two events: the men’s individual recurve, where Australian Michael Coen managed to secure a bronze and the women’s individual recurve. The women’s champion, New Zealand’s Neroli Fairhall, became the first paraplegic athlete to win a Commonwealth gold medal. The final standings were decided by an aggregate score after four days of shooting.

Mathew Masonwells, Matthew Gray and Taylor Worth being presented their gold medals. (CGA Archives)

 

For the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Archery made its long-awaited return to the Games, offering six new events: men’s and women’s team recurve event, a men’s and women’s team compound event and a men’s and women’s individual compound event.

The revamped competition attracted 140 competitors from 24 nations, with Australia sending an equal competition high team of 12 athletes who managed to secure two medals.

Matthew Gray, Mathew Masonwells and Taylor Worth became the first Australian’s to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Archery after they defeated Malaysia in the final of the men’s team recurve.

Mat Masonwells, Taylor Worth and Matthew Gray win the gold medal in the Men’s Recurve Team event. (CGA Archive)

 

 

While Cassie McCall became the only Australian female to win a Commonwealth Games medal in Archery after defeating compatriot Fiona Hyde to win bronze in the women’s individual compound.

In the men’s individual recurve, Gray narrowly missed out on winning a bronze medal, finishing fourth. Likewise, the men’s individual compound team, featuring Patrick Coghlan, Clint Freeman and Robert Timms fell agonisingly short of a bronze medal after falling to South Africa 234-232 in the bronze medal playoff.

Cassie McCall won bronze in the Women’s Compound Individual event. (CGA Archives)

 

Rounding out the Delhi 2010 results, Rebecca Darby joined McCall and Hyde to form the women’s team compound, who made it to the round of 16. While the women’s recurve team of Deonne Bridger, Lexie Feeney and Dawn Nelson also fell in the round of 16.

The return of Archery in Delhi after a 28-year gap set a new Games record for sports that have been on the programme more than once. Archery last appeared at the Brisbane Games in 1982. Rowing held the previous record with a 24-year absence from Perth in 1962 to Edinburgh in 1986.

Women’s Recurve Team event at Delhi 2010. (CGA Archives)

 

India will again host archery events, but also shooting events at the Commonwealth championship series in January 2022.

The event will give the Commonwealth’s best archers another opportunity to take aim at the target.

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