Apparently, the LaJust Electronic Protectors that will be used in the World Taekwondo Championships in Korea and could be used in the Olympic Games in London 2012, could have important problems due to electromagnetic interferences.
According to a telecommunications specialist engineer, 3G cell phones operate at a frequency of 1.8 Ghz and 4G at a frequency of 4.0Ghz. It seems that the LaJust radio system could either not be operating at an optimal frequency or not have filters to block any type of interference. Either way, this communication failure could become a serious problem during any event.
Tony Acevedo, General Manager of Puerto Rico Taekwondo Federation wrote “It looked as if it was going to be a short event since there were 4 weights and therefore only 16 programmed combats for the day. To our surprise, the electronic protectors started to show an abnormal performance. These would not register contact during the initial test done by the competitors, forcing the technicians to stop the action while they were changing constantly the trunk protectors and sensors. To add even more confusion, it was noticeable that the failure occurred first in all the red protectors and the blue protectors afterwards. This made us think that the failure was not in the protectors but in an external anomaly” in the official Puerto Rico site.
“Finally after several hours of delay and elimination of possible causes, Master Hong Ki Kim, Advisor of the FTPR, discovered that the problem relied in the nearby conglomeration of cell phones with 4G and 4G technology, communication radios that were being used in the area by National Guards, and wireless microphones. Once all the microphones and communication radios were turned off and the public was asked to move to the upper stands far from the technical table, the problem disappeared and the event could be continued until its end.” Concluded Acevedo in his article. (See Note)
Coinciding with the occurrences in Puerto Rico, the same problems appeared at the “5th Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships” that took place in Chennai, India, the last 28th-31st January, where LaJust electronic protectors were also used. During the finals, live broadcasted in India, the trunk protectors had to be changed for every combat, because for some reason they did not work. In fact, it was surprising that in the Scotland vs Trinidad and Tobago combat (SCO vs TRI), the TRI competitor knocked out his opponent with a Tuitchagui in the third round, but the central referee did not realize it was a KO because it was not scored, and then called the medical services. Afterwards, the Chief Referee of the event, Mr Brian Tilley, confirmed the knock out, since it was never registered by the system, just as if it had never happened.
In the recent press release with Jesús Tortosa where he explained the points taken into account when testing an electronic protector system, it is made clear that the possible of interferences such as those quoted at the beginning, are also being analyzed.
Without any doubt there is not, and there should be no turning back in the use of electronic scoring systems, but there is no doubt that there is a lot to improve in this short time left until London 2012.