Dartchery, a history

Archerydarts or, as it became known, dartchery, started at the Chaseley Home in Eastbourne which accommodated ex-servicemen with spinal injuries. A team of wheelchair archers would compete against non-disabled darts players from local pubs and clubs. 

The non-disabled players would play their normal game, throwing at a standard dart board, while the wheelchair archers would use a bow and arrow to shoot at a target three times the size from a distance of 30 feet (just over nine metres). Their biggest challenge was in finding a suitable venue. 

Dartchery, a competitive sport

Having been included in the 1949 Stoke Mandeville Games, dartchery was demonstrated at the 2nd International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1953 and became a full sport at the 1954 International Stoke Mandeville Games.

Dartchery, a Paralympic sport

Events in dartchery were included in every Summer Paralympic programme from Rome 1960 until it's last appearance, which was at the Arnhem 1980 Summer Games.

Dartchery at the Paralympic Summer Games

  • Rome 1960 – 1 event, 2 countries and 6 athletes (5 men and 1 woman) participated.
  • Tokyo 1964 - 1 event, 5 countries and 7 athletes (6 men and 1 woman) participated.
  • Tel Aviv 1968 - 1 event, 18 countries and 62 athletes (58 men and 4 women) participated.
  • Heidelberg 1972 - 3 events, 8 countries and 18 athletes (9 men and 9 women) participated.
  • Toronto 1976 - 3 events, 18 countries and 64 athletes (42 men and 22 women) participated.
  • Arnhem 1980 - 3 events, 17 countries, number of athletes is unknown.

British dartchery medal winners

  • Heidelberg 1972
    Great Britain (M. Cooper, Margaret Maughan) – gold in Women's Pairs Open.
  • Toronto 1976
    Great Britain (M. Cooper, Margaret Maughan) – silver in Women's Pairs Open.
  • Arnhem 1980
    Great Britain – bronze in Women's Pairs Open.

Some information from earlier Paralympic Games (i.e. 1960-1988) such as relay and team members are not presented in the IPC source data. Therefore, final results, medal standings and derived statistics may not be complete. Important note on the definition of participants: Only athletes that appear in the official results books in the section of final results are included in the database and counted towards participant statistics. Data for 2014 and 2016 are accurate. Statistics for previous Games are under review by the IPC. Important note on competition partners: Competition partners eligible for medals are included in the combined participant statistics until 2014. Statistics for 2016 and beyond consider athletes with an impairment and their competition partners separately. 

Rules of dartchery

Dartchery was only open to wheelchair athletes. 

The bows and arrows used are similar to those used in archery and the target is marked in the same way as a standard dart board. 

In a match the team members take turns shooting at the target from 20 yards (approx. 18 metres). Each competitor has three arrows to shoot in to the target circle which is divided into sections scoring different numbers of points. 

Scoring is the same as for darts, competitors start with 301 points which are reduced by the number of points scored until they reach zero.  The winner being the first to hit zero.

The Paralympic Games events from 1960 to 1968 were only for mixed pairs, men’s pairs and women’s pairs were added for the Heidelberg 1972 Games.


  • Brittain, I.S., (2012) From Stoke Mandeville to Stratford: A History of the Summer Paralympic Games. Champaign, Illinois: Common Ground Publishing
  • Bailey, S., (2008) Athlete First: A History of the Paralympic Movement, John Wiley & Sons Ltd; Chichester, UK.