The World Taekwondo Federation announced last week that for the first time ever para-taekwondo world rankings will be introduced at the Canada Para-Taekwondo Open in February 2015 as part of the federation’s pledge to guarantee the highest level of competition at Tokyo 2020 should the sport have the honor of being included in the Paralympic Program.
The Open will be held in Toronto, Canada, on 13-15 February and will kick-start a busy year for para-taekwondo with many national and international events planned for 2015. Para-taekwondo poomsae (P20) competitions will take place on 13 February and para-taekwondo kyorugi (K40) events are due on 15 February with athletes from all over the world invited to take part. The competition will be assigned a G1 ranking and all future WTF recognized para-taekwondo championships will be assigned a grade as stipulated below:
Athletes will be divided by class and by weight division and the world ranking points will be calculated and updated after every competition.
Ranking points will be allocated as follows:
Seeding of the top four athletes in each class and weight division will be applied to all WTF recognized events.
Speaking following the announcement, WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“This is a very significant step forward in the development of para-taekwondo. Our number one priority is our athletes and the introduction of world rankings will ensure that the very best athletes compete against each other regularly. Not only will this improve the competition but it will also provide the best spectacle for fans. If we have the honor of being included on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Program this world ranking system will form the basis of the qualification process and guarantee the IPC and the global para-sport fan base the very strongest depth of field at the Paralympic Games.”
The poomsae competitions for intellectually disabled athletes at the Open reflect the WTF’s one taekwondo philosophy as they look to provide equal opportunities for all athletes. The Open will be an opportunity for athletes to prepare for para-taekwondo’s inclusion as a demonstration sport at the INAS Global Games in Ecuador in 2015. The WTF hopes to be included as an official sport at the 2019 INAS Global Games.
Tony Nippard, President of Taekwondo Canada, added:
“We are honoured to be the first hosts of a world ranking para-taekwondo event. As a country, Canada has excellent sports hosting experience and we are delighted to be providing an opportunity for both kyorugi and poomsae athletes to compete at an elite level in front of our sports-passionate crowd. I know that the introduction of world rankings will be very well received by all the athletes and it is a reflection of the increasing professionalism of the sport. We look forward to welcoming athletes from all over the world to Canada.”