The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President, Chungwon Choue, today praised the advancements that have been made in Para-Taekwondo and outlined the WTF’s plans to further develop and promote the sport among its 205 Member National Associations (MNAs) ahead of the announcement of the shortlist of candidate sports for the 2020 Paralympic Programme, posted today aipsmedia.com.
Para-Taekwondo has witnessed significant growth in participation and popularity since the WTF formed the Para-Taekwondo Committee in 2006. Over the last eight years the WTF has been actively committed to developing and promoting Para-Taekwondo to ensure that the sport is accessible to as many people as possible. In the last year alone, the WTF has signed MOUs with the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), the International Federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability (INAS) and the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) in order to learn from their expertise and develop the sport to best serve athletes of different disabilities and impairments.
Work has also begun on creating a more sophisticated, evidence-based classification system. Research began in December 2013 in Yongin City, South Korea, and the second stage of research was concluded in Moscow, Russia, at the end of January this year. The results of both stages of research are currently being processed by the WTF and the findings will form the basis of the new Para-Taekwondo Classification Rules and Regulations.
Speaking ahead of his visit to Sochi for the Paralympic Winter Games, WTF President, Chungwon Choue, said:
“We are very proud of the progress that has been made in Para-Taekwondo over the last eight years. This has been reflected not just in the total numbers of people participating in Para-Taekwondo but also in the number of people with different disabilities and impairments participating in the sport. At the inaugural WTF World Taekwondo Championships in 2009 we had 38 competitors from 19 countries competing just in Para-Taekwondo Kyorugi. This year’s Championships will include competition in Para-Taekwondo Poomsae for athletes with an Intellectual Disability as well as Para-Taekwondo Kyorugi and we are hoping to welcome 150 athletes from 40 countries across five continents.
“Despite these significant advancements, we recognise there is always room for improvement and we remain fully committed to making the sport as inclusive and accessible as possible. During our Council meeting and General Assembly in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, later this month we will discuss a number of proposed amendments to the WTF Statutes designed to increase participation in Para-Taekwondo and promote the values of the IPC. We hope that the IPC will recognise the progress that we have made and grant us the honour of being included in the shortlist of candidate sports for the 2020 Paralympic Sports Programme.”
Amongst the suggested amendments to the WTF Statutes is the proposal to increase participation in Para-Taekwondo by making it a requirement of the MNAs to send two or more athletes to participate in the World Para-Taekwondo Championships in order to be eligible for full membership status at the General Assembly. To assist with this, the WTF has set up a development fund where all MNAs can apply for funding to develop Para-Taekwondo within their own countries. The WTF is also in the process of creating education programmes across the full spectrum of the sport in order to ensure that it continues to grow from grass roots level up to the elite, international level.
Para-taekwondo is one of nine sports and disciplines that have applied for inclusion on the Paralympic Programme for 2020. The IPC will meet on 5 March 2014 to decide who will progress to the second phase of the application process. The announcement of the shortlist will be made on 6 March 2014.