Research project brings taekwondo classification code closer as drive for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics gathers pace

Post date: Feb 24, 2014 12:51:08 AM

By Gary Anderson

February 20 - As part of its bid for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has carried out a four-day research project in Russia aimed at establishing a classification system for the sport.

The project in Moscow follows on from initial research carried out on able-bodied athletes in December at Yong In University, South Korea, as the WTF continues to develop its classification system to bring it in line with that of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).A total of 16 athletes from Russia, France and Turkey, representing the current taekwondo kyorugi classes, were tested at the Russian national team training centre in Moscow in a project supported by the European Para-Taekwondo Union (EPTU), the Russian Taekwondo Union and the Russian Paralympic Committee.Athletes and coaches involved in the testing were invited to give their feedback on the classification and competition system and, among the suggestions put forward to maximise the promotion of the sport, were the creation of more Para-taekwondo competitions, a ranking system and an increased national quota.

Unsuccessful for Rio 2016, taekwondo will once again bid for Paralympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020 ©AFP/Getty Images

Representatives of the WTF, the WTF Para-Taekwondo Committee and the EPTU also met with the President of the Russian Paralympic Committee Vladimir Lukin and first vice-President, Pavel Rozhkov.

During the meeting the current status of Para-taekwondo in Europe was discussed as well as the future development of Para-taekwondo kyorugi for limb deficiency athletes and Para-taekwondo poomsae for athletes with intellectual, visual or neurological impairments.

WTF representatives also met with the President of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), Dr Valery Rukhledev, to discuss the development of the WTF sanctioned World Deaf-Taekwondo Championships.

The WTF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ICSD in October last year during the SportAccord World Combat Games to include taekwondo competitions for deaf athletes at this year's World Para-Taekwondo Championships.

Last year's World Championships in Lausanne - home to the WTF - were the biggest Championships to date and saw 86 athletes from 25 nations taking part, rising from 58 athletes from 14 countries at the 2012 event in Santa Cruz in Aruba.

Earlier this month the WTF opened the bidding process for the World Championships, with the host city set to be announced at the governing body's Council meeting on March 18 in Taipei City.

The results of the classification projects will also be presented at the Council meeting on March 19 as an initial WTF Para-Taekwondo Classification Code will be discussed.

Para-taekwondo launched an unsuccessful bid for inclusion at Rio 2016, losing out to triathlon and canoeing, but is preparing another campaign for Tokyo 2020.

This time it will be up against badminton, hockey, powerchair football, intellectually impaired basketball, electric wheelchair hockey and amputee football, while 3x3 wheelchair basketball, blind match racing and one person multi-hull sailing have been proposed as new disciplines also.

Canoeing will make its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016 along with triathlon ©Getty Images

Last year saw taekwondo's Tokyo 2020 campaign significantly boosted after it was included as a demonstration sport on the programme for the 2015 International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS) Global Games in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

That was followed by the announcement last November that the WTF and the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) had signed a MoU which will see the WTF promote Para-taekwondo for visually impaired athletes among its 205 member associations, while they also agreed to discuss what modifications could be made to the sport to best serve competition between athletes.

The IPC are due to announce which sports and disciplines have made it through to the next stage of the Tokyo 2020 application process during a meeting of its Governing Board in Sochi prior to the Paralympic Winter Games in March before a final decision will be made in November this year.

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