The World Taekwondo Federation announced that four continents will host Para-Taekwondo Championships in 2015 with Asia and Africa hosting Championships for the very first time as the WTF looks to meet the sport’s worldwide demand following a year of dramatic global growth in 2014.
The inaugural Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships will be held in Chinese Taipei in April while the 4th Pan-America Para-Taekwondo Championships will be held in Colombia in September. The African and European Para-Taekwondo Championships will take place in Algeria and Moldova respectively with the dates yet to be finalised. All the Championships will be open to athletes of all nations as part of the WTF’s commitment to making the sport as open and accessible as possible and to ensure athletes from Oceania are given an equal opportunity to compete.
World Rankings for kyorugi athletes will be introduced for the first time this year at the Canada Para-Taekwondo Open in February and implemented across all the Championships thereafter. The World Rankings are yet another example of the ongoing modernisation of the sport and will play a vital role in guaranteeing the highest level of competition at Tokyo 2020 should the sport have the honour of being included in the Paralympic programme.
Speaking following the announcement WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“The para-taekwondo competition schedule for 2015 shows just how far the sport has come over the last few years. Over the last year, we have seen the number of registered athletes grow dramatically, even faster than we predicted, and so we needed to establish new competitions to meet these growing demands.
“Asia and Africa will host their first ever Para-Taekwondo Championships this year and not only will this service the existing athletes but it will help unlock the huge potential for growth we have in those regions – and around the world – by inspiring athletes with impairments to get involved in the sport.
“If we have the honour of being included on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Programme we have no doubt that it will act as a catalyst for rapid expansion and development of para-taekwondo. We have the infrastructure in place: we have well-developed Classification Rules and Regulations based on evidence-based research, we have introduced a World Rankings system, we have a strong quadrennial programme in place and we have 40-years of experience at the WTF of maximising our sports product.”