In 2006, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) creates the Para-Taekwondo Committee in an effort to develop and promote Taekwondo in athletes with disabilities. The Para-Taekwondo was focused on the development of “Kyorugui” (combat) for athletes with some degree of amputation, motor impairment or paralysis in the upper limbs only.
The first WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships was held in 2009 in Baku, Azerbaijan, together with the World Team Cup. From that year on, the World Para-Taekwondo Championships have been held three times:
- 2010: St. Petersburg (Russia)
- 2012 Santa Cruz (Aruba)
- 2013 in Lausanne (Switzerland
Participation in Para-Taekwondo Championships has been growing steadily in number participating countries and athletes.
A new great leap happens in 2013
On occasion of the 4th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships in 2013, a Working Group on Development of Para-Taekwondo formed by members of the WTF Para-Taekwondo Committee and representatives of CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association) and INAS (International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability) met to discuss the future of Para-Taekwondo. Following their recommendations, it was decided to extend the Para-Taekwondo competitions and create competition at a world level taking into account athletes with different disabilities. At that time, and at the International Olympic Committee premises, the president of the WTF, Dr. Choue, signed two Memos of Understanding between the representatives of the INAS and CPISRA; months later with IBSA and the ICSD.
The Poomsea as sports modality for people with disabilities
The Para- Taekwondo ” Poomsae ” will be the competition, in the first instance, for athletes with intellectual disabilities, and then , and in mid-term future, integrate athletes with cerebral palsy and visual impairment.
The Para- Taekwondo ” Poomsae ” competitions will be included in the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships to be held in June in Moscow.
The Para- Taekwondo ” Poomsae ” has also been confirmed as ” demonstration sport ” for the INAS Global Games (International Sports Federation for Persons Intellectual Disability) in 2015 in Ecuador .
One of the most important events was that on October 16, 2013 the WTF was recognized as an international federation by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC); recognition of the work in progress in the development of Para- Taekwondo.
Our next goal is to include the Para- Taekwondo in the program as demonstration sports in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
In order to be able to compete in the Para-Taekwondo championships, the contestant must:
- Holder of the nationality of the participating team
- An athlete must be nominated by the pertinent national taekwondo association that is recognized
- by the World Taekwondo Federation.
- Holder of 3rd -1st Gup recognized by the WTF or Dan/Poom recognized by Kukkiwon/WTF
- Holder of valid WTF Global Athlete Licence (GAL).
- Born before December 31, 1998
- Athlete must go through classification and be assigned Sport Class and Sport Class Status before the competition.
Primary eligibility for athletes with intellectual disabilities
To be eligible, athletes must meet the eligibility criteria defined by INAS based on the World Health Organization and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). The process is governed by the INAS Eligibility and Classification Policy and meets the requirements of the IPC Classification Code.
In 2008, INAS adopted the IPC Classification Code, the code governing the classification in all sports for athletes with disabilities and all IPC member organizations must comply.
The classification of athletes with intellectual disabilities is a two-step process:
1. Eligibility Elementary (this is done by a representative of INAS in the athlete´s country, if there is)
2. Classification of the specific sport (according to current regulations and standards for each sport).
Through the invitation to the 5th World Para-Taekwondo published on the WTF official website, it is stated that in the case that there is no member of the INAS organization in the country of origin of the athlete, the request for provisional eligibility may be processed through the WTF itself. That is why they asked to start this process as soon as possible because the INAS can take up to 30 days to process the requests.
Taekwondo Competition for the hearing impaired
Since 2009, Taekwondo has been included in the official program of the Olympic Games for the Deaf and again in 2013 for both modalities Kyorugi as Poomsae. The WTF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to include hearing impaired athletes in the Taekwondo competitions; additionally the WTF is planning to organize an official World Taekwondo Championships in November in the United States. The next Deaflympic Games will take place in 2017 in Turkey.
Given the number of different acronyms to which we will have to familiarize, the following organizations are those that are part of the family for the Paralympics:
IPC: International Paralympic Committee. http://www.paralympic.org/
INAS: International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. http://www.inas.org/
IBSA: International Blind Sports Federation. http://www.ibsasport.org/
ICSD: International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. http://www.deaflympics.com/
CPISRA: Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association. http://cpisra.org/main/
Fernando Akilian, Exclusive masTaekwondo.com