The WTF Council today approved the Para-taekwondo strategic plan which will provide a framework for the WTF to instigate innovative programmes and reforms for the development and expansion of Para-taekwondo worldwide.
Speaking after the WTF Council meeting, WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“Para-taekwondo is a relatively new sport. We may not have the same history as other Para-sports but we do have huge potential. The strategic plan we have approved today will help us realize this potential.
“We have spent the last six years working on establishing a robust foundation for our sport. We have developed our Classification and Competition Rules, increased our base of athletes and developed the quantity and quality of our international competitions. The action plan for the next five years will guarantee the growth of our sport and will be implemented irrespective of whether we are successful in our bid for inclusion in the Paralympic Games.
“We will carefully study the feedback from the IPC and guarantee that our strategic plan addresses the issues identified in their review. We remain convinced that we can add significant value to the IPC by connecting it with new markets and bringing a new, exciting and dynamic sport to the Paralympic Games.”
The WTF has identified five key areas in the strategic plan which will be implemented between 2015 and 2020:
With Para-taekwondo undergoing a period of rapid growth, the WTF will increase the number of international and national competitions available to service the growing athlete base and encourage greater global participation. Para-taekwondo Championships in Asia, Africa and Oceania will be established in the coming years with an inaugural Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships expected next year.
The WTF will also apply for inclusion in Paralympic Continental Multisport events such as the Para Pan American Games and the Asia Para Games in order to allow the WTF to tap into the sport’s popularity in these regions.
To further improve the quality of the competitions, Para-Taekwondo World Rankings will be introduced next year to ensure the very best athletes compete against one another on a regular basis providing the very best spectacle for fans. It will also ensure that, if para-taekwondo has the honor of being included on the Paralympic Programme, the very best athletes will compete at the Paralympic Games as World Rankings will be part of qualification.
The WTF has made significant progress in recent years in developing its Classification Rules through sport-specific evidence-based research. The WTF will continue to conduct evidence based research and listen to the expertise of the IPC and IOSDs to enhance its classification system and guarantee fair competition. In addition, the WTF will conduct injury surveillance research at para-taekwondo competitions to identify potential areas of risk and, if necessary, amend the Competition Rules accordingly.
Grassroots education programmes for schools, coaches and trainers will be implemented to spread awareness of Para-taekwondo among the WTF’s 206 MNAs and increase global participation. Technical officials, team officials, coaches and athletes will receive education in Competition and Classification Rules, along with specialist programmes for International Classifiers.
The WTF Development Fund will set aside annual funding for the development of Para-taekwondo between 2015-2020. The WTF will allocate special funds for increasing youth and female participation. Under the philosophy of one taekwondo – a philosophy centered on the idea that all athletes regardless of impairment, gender, age, nationality or race practice the same sport – the WTF will work with existing taekwondo clubs and national federations to promote the sport in local communities worldwide.
This funding will be provided over the next five years irrespective of Paralympic inclusion. However, inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games would unlock public, private and NPC funding and act as a catalyst for even greater global participation.
The WTF will continue to collaborate closely with the IPC and actively contribute to the advancement of the Paralympic Movement. Over the next five years, the WTF will maintain and consolidate its relationship with all four IOSDs and the ICSD to ensure that it learns from their experience and expertise and delivers the best possible sport for people with an impairment.
The WTF will also create compelling sponsorship packages for global partners in para-taekwondo in the 2016-2020 Paralympic Cycle and reinvest these revenues into the sport.