At one point or another in life, while watching historical/medieval movies or playing "Stronhold", the horseback archers appeared to be very fascinating characters and have been the 'wow' factor of the entertainment. Well, around a week back i was contacted by some Professors from the physical science department, and they were looking for translators for a tournament. Upon inquiry, they shared the details of the upcoming "Horseback Archery world championship", where they were invited as judges. It elevated my curiosity about this extreme sports, which ended up as a long conversation, exchange of tactics and analysis. Well, this sport is as hard as it seems and we shall explore its various constituents briefly.

Zana a passionate horseback archer (Img Source)

Tournament Details & Challenging Styles

The tournament is being organized by 'world horseback archery federation' in collaboration with the 'Kazakhstan ethnosport association' starting from 28th to 31st of August, 2018. As the kazakh land and their people have a deep love and bond with horses for centuries, so there can be no other passionate place for the tournament. In addition, Hungary is also standing at the top candidates in the passion for this sports and have arranged many international tournaments. England, Australia and many other countries are joining the list and it seems like we shall see a Sagittaris horde soon enough. In this competition, a number of participants with an eye on the total prize pool of about 15000 USD would compete each other at 3 different competition levels:

1st Level: Asian Style

Even though Gangnam style seems a bit hard deal, but the tournament management has ranked this stage as the 1st one. The rider would have 2 attempts to pass through an alley with 1st one having a slightly higher gap between the targets than the second. Seems like a good warm up but, add the compulsion of hitting at the bulls-eye and you would find the colors blurring right in front of your eyes. That is not it, in order to be in the winner's list, the participant would have to gain points by the combination of the two factors:

  • The speed with which the player would complete the round.
  • The accuracy of the aims.

2nd Level: Turkish Style

We very well know Turks have a heavy invasion and war history and they could not be excluded from this end of the tactics. But, guess they had to face the opponents with high-walled castles so in their style the target is way up high from the ground. Now, that is not the only shot and to make it more interesting in the mid of the alley, the Sagittari has to cross the target..draw the arrow..while looking backwards and aim at 45 degree high target. There is 2nd attempt too, where it gets even to next level of intensity, when the two targets are very close together. The archer has to do the back-strike first and then quickly draw for the front one and i think at this point, every one in the ground including audience and judges would forget to blink.

3rd Level: Kazakh Style

Do i need to remind about the passion of the Kazakh's for the sport i mentioned above? This time the participant has got 3 attempts and there are no specific radials or bull-eyes. Hanging on the side are three plain colored targets and each for bronze, silver and gold with ascending order of points. Simple and easy? Let's notice the length of the stand holding the targets, which is increasing with the type of the metal. Now, i cannot exactly explain you the dynamics of the hardness of this level, but in this case the rider literally has to bend 90 degree rightwards on the running horse just to catch the lower end of the target. 

That's a crossbow though, happened to attempt a couple of shots with each

That is why this sports does not only require a sharp eye, a sense of distance but, also a great amount of physical alignment. The participant say that the movie 'Avatar' literally starts to make sense here, when the rider has to actually bond himself/herself with the heartbeat of the horse on one side and the curves of the bow on the other. 

Was i spot on? 

Which one of them did you find challenging?

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