The 5th World Para Taekwondo Championships will be held on June 21 and 22 in Moscow, Russia, event for which the World Taekwondo Federation hopes to surpass its expectations of participation and organization. Olof Hansson who is responsible for all the issues related to Para-Taekwondo within the WTF talked with masTaekwodo.com regarding the progress in organizing this event.
Olof, what can you tell us about the about the preparations for this event?
The organizing committee is putting all its efforts into creating a truly successful championship, not only in the sports aspect but in the organization as well. It is important to mention that this is a championships where many things will be tried for the first time. As an example we will have classifications of para-athletes that are in line with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) standards. The Classification Rules to be used were passed by the WTF Council at their last meeting in Taipei in March.
Another big step in the development of Para-Taekwondo is that, for the first time also, athletes with an intellectual disability will be able to participate in the Championships competing in Poomsae.
How many are you expecting for this championship?
We are expecting around 35 countries, which would be a record compared to the previous edition held in Lausanne, Switzerland, where 82 athletes from 25 nations participated. The registration is still open so we expect to exceed those numbers.
We learned that some other organizations will promote this event. What can you tell us about this?
Indeed other organizations are promoting this great event and we are very pleased to receive their support. The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) and INAS, the international sports federation for para-athletes with an intellectual disability, are giving us their support in promoting this event and they have been close to us during the organization of the Para-Taekwondo Championships.
Regarding the registration of the teams, are you surprised by the response of the MNA´s so far?
Yes, and we hope we will surpass our own expectations! We have received the registration of athletes from Niger, Africa, that will compete in the Championships for the first time and we expect more African national to take part in the Championships.
Athletes with intellectual disabilities will participate in the Poomsae competition. What can you tell us about this?
We will have male and female individual competition for this division (P20). As we are introducing Poomsae competitions for intellectually disabled athletes, we are aware that we will have to improve a lot of aspects as long as the popularity of Poomsae increases among the athletes. We will continue promoting Poomsae and working to encourage its practice.
For this edition, the athletes who will participate in the competition must perform Poomsaes recognized by the WTF. The Technical Delegate will decide what group of forms that could be applied to the competitions. Forms will then be randomly drawn during the Head of Team Meeting for male and female individual competitions.
Now, let´s talk about the Kyorugi competition. Why the weight divisions were reduced?
This happened for the simple reason that we wanted to increase the number of competitors in each weight category. I think that, in the near future, as long as the Kyorugi competitions gains popularity and more athletes participate, we will be able to increase the number of weight categories.
Do you want to add anything else?
Yes, I would like to point out that classification is an ongoing research process that will continue during the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships.
Additionally, I want to take this opportunity to thank masTaekwondo.com for the great job you are doing in promoting and supporting Para-Taekwondo through the information articles you have published. We hope to see an excellent coverage and many interesting articles during the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships.
Alex Korram, Exclusive masTaekwondo.com