Austria successfully holds largest competition using new COVID-19 procedures

4 September 2020
Poppendorf, Austria
More than 170 archers competed in the Austrian 3D Championships in August.

Sport’s reintroduction after the restrictions introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria started back in July.

The first archery competitions – outdoor, field and 3D – returned, too. Guidelines published by the Austrian Archery Federation for clubs and then tournaments helped enforce the government strategy of social distancing and good hygiene.

Traditionally, the largest annual event in Austria is the national 3D championships.

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the tournament was held in Poppendorf, a village in the southeast of the country, in mid-August. More than 170 archers from across Austria competed. 

Hosting such a large event required some additional forethought – but nothing impossible.

Simple measures, like instigating a one-way system to pass through equipment inspection and providing a branded mask to each archer to wear when not shooting, helped remind participants of their responsibility to each other.

Hand sanitiser, disinfectant for shared objects and rubber gloves – especially for the results staff – are now commonplace at archery events.

Due to the head-to-head matchplay format of the tournament, the staggered start concept in use in other countries wasn’t viable. But archers were split into groups by bowstyle – and subsequently kept apart on the course.

Marshals, usually on hand to help visitors navigate the field, just had the extra role of reminding people to keep their distance.

Members of the discipline elite like Geraldine Ellermann, Alois Steinwender and former World Archery 3D Champion – and local hero – Nico Wiener were among the medallists. The championships also brought the debut of the 3D mixed team event at the national level.

The COVID-19 pandemic might have interrupted archery but, with solid health policies and simple changes to how even a large tournament is run, events are back on the calendar in Austria.

The national 3D Championships were organised by Josef Reinstrom and Olga Sabolova.

The guidelines for returning to sport at a national level were developed by Helmut Poell, federation secretary general – and newly qualified official COVID-19 agent – Frank Seewald and federation president Andreas Kolar.

Pictures courtesy Josef Reinstrom. Thanks to Bettina Kratzmüller.