(Last Updated on : 02/03/2016)
History of Archery in India dates back to the Vedic era
, as the Indian people of that period used Archery as a means of hunting. Archery in India
is considered to be one of the most ancient sports. In the two most popular Indian epics of Mahabharata
, the game of Archery was described quite extensively. All the principal characters of these two epics were described as great warriors of Archery. In the medieval period also, Archery was played quite extensively in India. In modern times, Archery has already made its way to the Olympic Games, as well.
Archery as a sporting event came much later than its use for survival for early man. Bow and arrow were invented primarily for hunting to find food. Gradually it became an instrument to wage war as well. The Mesolithic cave paintings in Spain provide the earliest pictorial evidence of the existence of bow.
Archery known as the Mesolithic skill can claim to be the oldest of any sports. It is not certain when the bow was invented, but there is proof of its use in different parts of the world 50,000 years ago. In Indian mythology there are many references to the bow and arrow. It was both used for competition and to wage war. As stated earlier, it is believed that the invention of the bow and arrow may have been inspired by primitive spring traps used to capture animals in the forest.
A refinement of the primitive bow was the English long bow of the Middle Ages which was made of the evergreen coniferous view tree or similar types of wood. The oriental composite bow, in use in Asia and Near East from about 2500 BC was cleverly constructed from material in layers glued together to provide additional strength. The modern bow was designed by an American Research Engineer, Hickman, and Klipsleg, a University Professor.
The ancient Scorton Arrow may have been the oldest sporting trophy instituted in 1673. In August 1844, the first Grand National Archery Meeting was held in York followed by the formation of a society in 7867. International archery started during 1931, when Poland took the initiative and held the first international tournament. In the same year, Federation International De Tir al (FITA) was formed. The original members of the FITA were Belgium, France, Poland and Sweden. Other nations joined the FITA later. Archery was first included in the Olympic Games in 1900, but was discontinued after 1920. It was, however, re-introduced in 1972, at the Munich Olympics.
In India the first national archery championship was held in Lucknow
in 1973, under the auspices of the National Rifle Association. Shamlal of Rajasthan
, who won the bronze medal for the 50 metres competition at the 5th Asia Cup Archery Championship held in Kolkata
in the Indian state of West Bengal
, in January 1988, became the first Indian to get a medal in an international event.
Equipments of Archery include a bow and arrows. In this sport, the players use the bow to shoot arrows and hit targets. Though, it was mainly used in hunting and combat in the ancient times, Archery has become a precision sport in the modern times. The game of Archery can be called as an indigenous sport of Meghalaya. It is an inherent part of the culture of Meghalaya and the festivals of the state are incomplete without Archery. The people of Meghalaya
use bows of different dimensions in Archery. The bows are prepared mainly from a different type of bamboo
. The arrows used in Archery are usually made up of special reeds. The Indian people use Eagle feathers as the metal cap of an Arrow. The feathers are interlaced near the neck on four sides.
The target of Archery is made of a special grass species. The measurement of the target is approximately 8 - 10 inches in height and 3 inches in diameter and it remains attached to a thin bamboo pole at a height of 3 1/2 ft above ground level. An indentation is also created at the bottom of the pole. If the arrow of any player in an Archery game hits the target below this mark created, the player does not get any points. While playing, the players take aim at the target from a distance of 30 meters. Archery is a versatile sport in the sense that it can be conducted as both an individual as well as team sport. The person who plays and practices the game of Archery is called as an Archer.
The game of Archery in India is mainly governed and supervised by the Archery Association of India
(AAI). This is the central body for the promotion and management of Archery in India. AAI is a member of the International Archery Federation, or FITA. The AAI has been spearheading efforts to popularize the game in India and it is also one of the founder members of the Asian Archery Association (AAA).
Going by the history of Archery, several types of archery games are played in India. Broad-head Round is a kind of Archery game that features Archers shooting broad head-tipped arrows. Then there are other types as well like Bionic Buck kind of Archery game, Golf Archery, Night Shooting form of Archery game, Padded Arrow Sport, Running Buck and Turkey Tester re just to name a few.