10 fascinating facts about archery

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Over the past few years, archery has exploded thanks to Team GB's success at the Paralympics and the popularity of films and TV shows such as The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Ahead of Archery GB's Big Weekend, in association with Foresters Friendly Society, this month, we reveal some facts you probably never knew about this long-established sport.Archery GB Big Weekeng photo

Foresters Friendly Society has always had a long association with this sport, due to our historic links with the infamous Robin Hood, and as such, we are proud to be the official sponsors of the Archery GB teams and are looking forward to the Big Weekend.

The Big Weekend will allow budding bowmen and aspiring archers to try out the sport for themselves at archery clubs all over the UK over the Bank Holiday weekend of 24-26 May. For those who have never picked up a bow before, the two-day event will give everyone, young and old, the opportunity to act out their Robin Hood and William Tell fantasies.

If you want to know more about why archery is a fantastic activity for all ages, see our previous blog, but to whet your appetite and pique your interest, here are 10 things you might not know about this increasingly popular sport.

1. The modern Olympic recurve bow may look hi-tech, but it is actually based on a design that originated over 3500 years ago (1500 BC)!

2. An archer can also be referred to as a toxophilite (although they rarely are!). The word comes from two Greek words that together mean 'lover of the bow'.

3. During the Middle Ages, a skilled long-bowman could release between 10-12 arrows per minute. That's an arrow every five/six seconds!

4. Archery is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

5. To get within the 'gold ring', Olympic archers have to be able to hit a target the size of a beermat from a distance of seven bus lengths!

6. Five-time US Olympic archery champion Khatuna Lorig trained Jennifer Lawrence for the Hunger Games films. She's not the only Hollywood star to be adept with a bow. Thelma & Louise star Geena Davis just missed out on making the US Olympic archery team in 2000, placing 24th out of 300!

7. Archery was the only sport that women could take part in, when they were first allowed to compete in the 1904 St. Louis Olympics.

8. South Korea has (so far) won the most gold medals in Olympic archery with an impressive haul of 19.

9. One of England's greatest victories was because of the skill of its long-bowmen. During the Battle of Crecy in 1346, they killed almost 2000 French knights and soldiers. The English lost just 50 men.

10. At various times in Britain's history, monarchs have banned the likes of football, bowls and even golf, because men were playing these sports rather than practising archery in their spare time. In fact, during the reign of Henry VIII, every man in the country had to "Practice at the Butts" after church on Sundays to hone their archery skills.

If after the Archery GB’s Big Weekend your child shows a keen interest in archery, you may wish to sign them up to a club. Most clubs will ask for a membership fee and eventually, you may have to buy your little one their very first bow! 

A children’s savings account can help you put aside some money for your child’s future, so your son or daughter can have some savings ready to continue improving those archery skills, help towards their education or even buy their first car! If you’d like to find out more about our Child Tax Exempt Savings Plan, click here or get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to answer and questions you may have – in the meantime, enjoy the Big Weekend!


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