Competitive Archery in Nepal
Traditionally used in combat and for hunting, archery has become a popular leisure and competitive sport around the world. Defined as the practice of propelling arrows with the use of a bow to hit a predetermined target, archery is a skill that requires accuracy, patience and a great deal of practice. This is especially true if the archer wants to compete on an international level, such as the Olympic Games. Traditional archery is still practiced in Nepal, particularly in the country’s rural areas, but it is also gaining ground as a competitive sport, with Nepali teams participating in international competitions and aiming to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
In Nepal, as is the case in other competing countries, archery is promoted as a sport that can be enjoyed by both genders and all ages. The Nepal Archery Association, as part of the Nepal Olympic Committee, oversees the sport in Nepal, which is also privately sponsored, most notably by DiKi Archery – run by certified archery coaches Kishore Kumar Gurung and Dipak Raj Gurung. National Championships are held in Nepal on a regular basis, with a selection of the most skilled archers participating in competitions such as the South Asian Games against other member countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – and the Asian Archery Championships. The first South Asian Games were held in 1983 in Kathmandu, and take place every two years with a member countries taking turns at hosting the event. Since 2004 archery in Nepal has been conforming to the regulations set by FITA – the International Archery Federation.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Archery Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Founded in 1931 with initial member states being France, Poland, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy and the United States, FITA currently represents more than 140 national archery associations. The main aim of the organization was to establish competitive events, with the ultimate goal of ensuring inclusion in the Olympic Games, where it had not been represented since 1920. This goal was reached when archery was included in the program for the 1972 Olympics held in Munich. FITA continues to promote competitive archery and represent members at an international level. As Nepal’s archery team works toward qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, no doubt they have many supporters wishing them success.