Tokyo 2020 Venues: Dream Island Archery Field (Archery & Para-Archery)
Possibly one of the names on the list of Tokyo 2020 venues that stands out is the Dream Island Archery Field. Wow “Dream Island”, that’s a name steeped in intrigue and mystery. For one who’s dream is it? Why is it named dream island? This sparked my interest to see the venue, and to visit the small island in Tokyo Bay. Unfortunately the site has yet to begin its construction in any major capacity. As of right now, there is plenty of the begging stages being set on the small island for the venue. However the visit was no means a waste of time as there are other interesting infrastructure to see. Let’s take a look at the events, location, and the venue.
The Dream Island Archery Field will shockingly be the facility to host the archery events, both during the Olympic and Paralympic games. The sports were both introduced at a relatively early stage of both games, so there is quite a bit of history. Archery has obviously been a very important skill in human history and spans across every culture. It is one of the unique sports within the Olympic games that hold a true importance beyond the world of athletics.
Olympics: Archery (July 24th-August 1st)
Archery was first introduced at the 2nd Olympic games, at the turn of the the 20th century in 1900. Of course, archery as a sport, hunting tool, and instrument of warfare, predates the modern day Olympics by thousands of years. Egyptian, Greek and Chinese dynasties were all known to partake in archery as an athletic event. The earliest recorded tournaments can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty, who ruled China from 1027BC–256BC.
Archery’s importance in the games is not only attributed to the longevity of the sport in human history. It was also one of the first sports that female athletes were allowed to participate in at the Olympic Games. It would be the third women’s specific event in the Olympics, introduced in 1904. It came after women’s golf (1900) and women’s tennis (1900). In 1904 they oddly removed the women’s golf and tennis events, making archery the lone event for female athletes. Only American female athletes competed in the event unfortunately, limiting to the actual success of diversity and inclusion.
Like many other events, archery did have its time away from the games. It would have its place in the games from 1900 to 1920 (excluding the games in 1912). Archery was scraped as part of the Olympics for 52 years and it wasn’t until the 1972 Munich Games, did it reappear.
Previously archery at the Olympics consisted of four events. Those were the women’s individual, women’s team, men’s individual and men’s team events. Come Tokyo 2020 however a 5th event has been added to the list. This will be the mixed team event, similar to the one the Paralympic Games had at Rio 2016. The events are ran the same both in rules and equipment. It starts with a target 70 meters from the athlete. In all the events the athletes use a recurved bow.
The individual event begins with 64 archers each shooting 72 arrows in sets of 12. Each arrow is scored based on accuracy and after six rounds, each athlete is given a ranking 1–64. Once the point stage is completed it turns into head to head matchups. It pits the 1st ranked archer versus the 64th placed archer, 2nd versus 63rd and so on. Each match consists of 4 ends of 3 arrows each, with each shooter alternating who shoots first after each end. The archer with the highest score advances and loser goes home. The elimination rounds continues until 8 athletes are left. The final rounds then begin where similar to the elimination rounds, the archers are competing head to head. The difference is the athletes alternate between each shot instead of each set of shots.
Countries that have dominated the sport has been Beligium (20 medals) , France (24 medals), the United States (34 medals) and South Korea (39 medals). However not including the games from 1904–1920, which saw a limited roster of teams, it has not been close competitively at all. In fact since 1972 Korea has won more golds in the sport of archery with 16, than any other team in total medals. The South Koreans have come to be known as the favourites to take home hardware each and every year.
Archery at the Summer Paralympics is one of the original sports hosted in the games in 1960. It has come to consist of nine different events that are based on a variety of factors that aren’t seen in the Olympic games. These factors include the bow type, the classification of athletes impairment, as well as sex and individual or pairs.
It’s interesting that there are separate categories for the type of bow in the Paralympic Games. There are events using both the compound bow and recurve bow. This differs from the Olympics which only has events using the recurve bow. A simple explanation on the difference is that a recurve bow has its limbs curve away from the archer when unstrung giving it more power shot but requiring more energy. The modern day compound bow uses a levering system that consists of pulleys and cables bending the limbs, making it more energy efficient.
The second factor influencing the event type is the classification of impairment that the athlete has. The first is the open category, which was previously called the standing division. As the “open” name suggests it is for archers with a variety of impairments. The other is the W1 category that is for athletes that have impairment of the legs and use a wheelchair during their shooting. Prior to 2016 there was also a V1 classification which was for visually impaired archers, who now compete in the open. It is important to note that the recurve event only has the ‘open’ category while the compound has both ‘W1’ and ‘open’.
The final factors are the usual men’s and women’s divisions. There is a mixed pairs event as well consisting of one man and one woman to compete in both recurve and compound events. It seems that the success of the mixed pairs event at Rio 2016 in the Paralympic Games, may have been the influence for the Olympic Games inclusion of the mixed category in their own archery event.
The format for the Paralympic archery event is pretty similar to that of the Olympics. Once again, beginning with the ranking rounds, followed by the elimination rounds and finishing with the final rounds. The target itself is placed between 50–70 meters from the athletes.
Great Britain has been the standout nation and they topped the medal board in para archery in Rio Olympic Games with 6 medals total and 3 golds. Unlike the Olympics the competition in the events have been close. There are nine teams who have over 15 medals in the sport, making each year intriguing as to who will take home the medals.
Location & Transportation
Address: 2-chome, Yumenoshima, Koto-ku, Tokyo
The Dream Island Archery Field venue is part of the Yumenoshima district in Koto. Yumenoshima means “Dream Island” in English. It is an artificial Island in Tokyo Bay, that is made of waste. It is literally a dream for those looking to maximize the most out of our societal waste. The Dream Island Archery Field is part of a small area of Tokyo that has some remarkable structures. The archery field is not yet under construction and only has a walled off area designated for the venue. The island is less than 2km squared and is at the edge of the Koto Ward. It is located right across from the Tokyo Sports Culture Centre hotel.
Yumenoshima already has several sports facilities across the island. This includes the Koto City Yumenoshima Stadium, Yumenoshima Park Athletic Field and multiple small baseball fields. There are also several barbecue areas and small parks to the south. Here is the map of the island currently.
To the eastern side of the island, across from the construction site of the venue, is the Tokyo Sports Culture Center. It is not actually a sports facility, but rather serves as a hotel. It has various facilities like a saunas and workout areas. Here is a link to their website below.
One of the most interesting sights of Yumenoshima is the great glass structure you will see towards the north side of the island. This is the Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome. It houses a variety of plants within the three domes and includes a movie theater for education on tropical fauna. It is open from 9:30 am-5:00pm and is relatively cheap at 250 yen for a standard ticket. Seniors and young kids get in for an even cheaper price. It is a good way to spend a hour or so looking at some unique plants.
The area is not all sunshine and parks however. There is a more serious side to the island. In 1954 a Japanese vessel out in the Pacific Ocean, was fishing around the Marshal Islands. It was on the receiving end of a nuclear tests fallout. It was the United States testing hydrogen bombs in the region. Some of the crew died from the radiation and when they returned to Japan, the ship was docked at Yumenoshima. Towards the north side of the island there is a memorial for the crew that lost their lives.
The best means to get to the Dream Island Archery Field is to travel to Shin Kiba Station. Shin-Kiba Station is connected to three different lines. Those lines are the JR Keiyo Line and Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit’s, Rinkai Line. The station also serves as a subway station aswell, having the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line. It is only a 11 minute walk from the station to the venue.
Your other options are using the Toei buses. On weekdays you will take bus number 18 from Kinshicho Station to Yumenoshima. On weekends you will take the number 5 bus from Kinshicho Station. These buses will drop you off at a mere 5 minute walk from the facility.
Unfortunately the venue itself is not yet under construction at the time of this article. There is a designated place, about a few couple hundred meters squared that is walled off. These walls are a common sight through much of the construction sites in Tokyo. The Dream Island Archery Field’s location does offer a small glass entrance gate that you can see into. There isn’t much to be seen however, as the grass itself has yet to be cut. The design plans for the venue with possibly the most interesting name at the Olympics has some creative design elements.
Here is a photo of the design for the field that was released over two years ago. It shows many elaborate buildings as part of the venue. It is unclear if this is still the planned design for the venue. It is somewhat difficult to see this as the end product for a number of reasons. The first is the relatively limited area considering the number of infrastructure already on the island. The other being the amount of time and resources spent on larger venues may leave various smaller ones to be re planned. Regardless of the outcome, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers will be able to create a first class venue. Below I have linked a more detailed design for the facility headed into its construction later this year.
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