MasTaekwondo.com recently published a series of articles about the “surprising” changes the WTF makes day after day. One of those articles that caused a stir was the one related to the system of granting the Wild Cards for the Olympic Youth Games “Nanjing 2014” to young athletes without any experience nor any track record.
Additionally, we recently published a list of countries that will receive the benefit of a Wild Card for the Olympic Youth Games, but considering the situations experienced in Singapore 2010, we think it is dangerous and serious to give the chance to compete at this level to young athletes who have no competitive experience at all. (See: 2014 Wild Cards to Nanjing, ” like giving a gun to a child”)
As to clean up that image, the WTF included in its qualifying manual for Rio 2016, the way in which the Tripartite Commission will select the “deserving ” athletes to fill a place in the Summer Olympics.
Proud of believing that they are generating an effective “filter” that will guarantee the athletes´ physical integrity and high competitive level, the WTF implemented a series of requirements that an athlete should comply in order to be able to go to Rio 2016 through an invitation.
By reading the above, we assume that not any athlete would be able to go Rio; however, by reading the requirements we found out that the degree of difficulty to be able to receive a Wild Card is almost is nonexistent .
According to the World Taekwondo Federation, the athlete must comply at least with “one of these requirements” :
• Be a medal winner (1st or 2nd or 3rd places) at any of the competitions enlisted on the WTF event calendar between May 2014 and April 2016;
• Be ranked within 20th place at least once in the WTF World Ranking between May 2014 and April 2016;
• Have advanced to round of 16 or higher at either WTF World Taekwondo Championships (2015);
• Have advanced to quarter-finals or higher at either Continental Taekwondo Championships held between May 2014 and April 2016 or at Continental Taekwondo Qualification Tournament or;
• Be the winner of national taekwondo championships held between May 2014 and April 2016.
If we analyze the different requirements, we can notice that just by the fact of being National Champion an athlete is eligible to be awarded a Wild Card. But the question is: Is it the same to be National Champion in Korea, Turkey, Iran, Mexico or Spain, than to be National Champion in Honduras, Uruguay, New Zealand, Andorra or Ghana? This, just to bring some clear cases in which there is great internal competitiveness and others in which there is almost no generational change due to poor participation in the sport.
Any of the five requirements set by the WTF as filter to award a Wild Card is really very simple to comply, proving once again that some athletes would be able to get to Rio without deserving to be in that privileged place for two reasons 1) Because they do not have enough credits and 2) Because their physical integrity will be at risk.