The final preparations for the 3rd European Para-Taekwondo Championships got underway today as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) prepares to stage the record-breaking event which will showcase the sport’s rapid growth in elite level participation.
Over 75 male and female athletes from 15 countries have qualified to take part in the one-day competition staged in Belek, Turkey on the coast of Antalya – a frequent host of major international sporting events. This represents a rise of more than 50% in the number of athletes competing since last year’s Championships where 48 athletes from 12 countries competed.
Today, the WTF will hold an international classifier training course as part of its commitment to developing experts in Para-Taekwondo through specialist education programmes. On 26 November athlete classification will take place using the latest WTF Classification Rules which have been developed using evidence-based research to ensure fair and equal competition. On 27 November, athletes will compete in the hope of securing the European title.
The WTF is working with all the continental taekwondo unions to ensure there is a Para-Taekwondo Championships on all continents. The inaugural Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships are set to take place next year. This year, Nepal and Kazakhstan – where Para-Taekwondo is already well developed – have been granted a special exception to participate in the European Championships.
WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“Para-Taekwondo is a relatively new sport but we are growing rapidly. As we will see at the 3rd European Para-Taekwondo Championships, every time we host a competition we attract more athletes from more countries. We are constantly looking to establish new international championships in order to strengthen our quadrennial programme and provide the very highest level of competition for our athletes”.
“With 206 national federations around the world we have so much potential to grow our global participation in para taekwondo. We are calling on all of our federations to help us promote para-taekwondo and realise this potential. If we have the honour of being included in the 2020 Paralympic Programme it will act as a catalyst for even greater global participation and help unlock public and private funding across all our national federations.”