The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) today submitted its final application for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), as it outlined para-taekwondo’s strong foundation, growth potential and global reach ahead of the IPC Governing Board’s vote on the 2020 Paralympic Programme in October 2014.
The application submission comes just one month after the conclusion of the fifth edition of the WTF’s elite World Para-Taekwondo Championships which showcased the sport’s truly global appeal. 123 athletes from 40 nations across five IPC regions registered for the event and athletes from 24 of those countries returned home as medalists, reflecting the WTF’s success in ensuring a strong depth of field in their elite competitions. Male and female athletes competed in three weight categories across four classes defined by the WTF’s recently updated Para-Taekwondo Classification Rules and Regulations. Scientific research into classification remains ongoing as the WTF looks to create fair, evidence-based sport-specific Classification Rules in line with the IPC Classification Code.
“This is a historic moment for para-taekwondo and for me personally. Getting para-taekwondo into the Paralympic Games is a personal passion of mine and priority number one for the WTF. We hope that the IPC Governing Board will see that we are committed to being a valuable and loyal partner and that the unique qualities of our sport will add real value to the Paralympic Programme.
“We have been working very closely with the IPC and the IOSDs to make sure that the sport develops in line with best practices, but there is still room for further development. We are focused on improving the quality, quantity and universality of the sport and we are confident that if we have the honour of being included on the Paralympic Programme, fans will be treated to a fair, safe and exciting spectacle in Tokyo in 2020.”
WTF Secretary General Jean-Marie Ayer added:
“It is our aim to make para-taekwondo as accessible to as many people around the world as possible and we have established a strong foundation to achieve that. We have fully integrated para-taekwondo within the same structure as taekwondo allowing para-athletes to join existing taekwondo clubs where there is very little difference between their training and minimal equipment required.
“We are working closely with our 206 MNAs to encourage and incentivise them to promote para-taekwondo within their countries and realise the full potential of the sport. If we had the honour of being included in the Paralympic Programme it would act as a catalyst for even greater growth. As the first combat sport in the Paralympic Games accessible to the full range of upper limb deficiency and arm amputee athletes, para-taekwondo would open the Games to new audiences, new markets and a whole new generation of athletes.”