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Suggestions from Russian Para-taekwondo head coach

SuggestionsAleksandrEfremov1.Weight categories
Male: 58, 65, 72, 80, +80
Female: 50, 57, 64, 70, +70
Athletes have different levels of injury. That is why I think 10 kilograms is a big difference in weight for para-athletes. To my opinion, it should me not more than 5-7 kilograms.

Consequently, there could be five weight categories. I fact, it will increase the number of participants on National and International Para-taekwondo Events including Continental Para-taekwondo Championships and World Para-taekwondo Championships.

It’s a common knowledge, that countries usually have not one, but several athletes in one weight category and several athletes in each classifications of injury. Unfortunately, only one athlete can present the country. In order to promote and popularize para-taekwondo there should be more opportunities. I mean more than one athlete should participate in each weight category and classifications of injury. On the other hand, there should be a strict quota on common number of participants from the National Team.

3.Round time
Participating in para-taekwondo kyorugi athletes with different injuries of upper extremities often suffer from muscle spasm. It happens because of hard work of spine muscles. In comparison with healthy athletes, Para-athletes need much more time to catch a breath. So, 3 rounds should last not more than 1.5 minutes. Besides, breaks between fights of one athlete should be not less than 10-15 minutes.

4.Combination of classifications
Combination of A5 and A6 classifications is not fair. A5 athletes are athletes without hands and they have nothing to protect themselves. A6 athletes are athletes with amputees above elbow on one arm. In case of clinch or sparring at distance, A6 athletes have more benefits and chances to win than A5 athletes because anyway attack area is closed.

5.Category of injury
Classifiers should take into consideration different categories of injury in order to equalize athletes. For instance, athlete without fingers and athlete with amputee on one arm below elbow are not equal during fighting. Lack of fingers doesn’t influence on balance during fighting which is not the same for athlete with amputee on one arm below elbow. The first one protects himself like a healthy athlete, while the second one doesn’t have that advantage.

6.Suggestion to Rules and Regulations
According to current WTF Rules and Regulations, the referee will penalize the athletes for techniques aimed for or hitting the head. Some athletes bend to waist in order to protect themselves from hits. Most of all athletes of A6, A7 and A8 use that technique. Fight becomes boring. If hitting the head was allowed for these categories of athletes and clinch was punishable, the performance on competition area would be more attractive and would look similar to taekwondo fights for healthy athletes.
Besides, I would suggest to change a design of dobok for para-athletes as it also influence on expression of fights.

7.Recreation of athletes
We need to organize a general conference or International seminar for Referees, Head coaches of National Teams, Team doctors. It would be a great chance to gather all the experienced experts at one place and discuss all the matters concerning recreation of athletes. It could help to promote kind of sport para-taekwondo, make it available for more people not only with categories of injuries available for para-taekwondo training, but also for people with both: physical and psychological traumas.

8.Ranking system
We need to work out a separate ranking system for para-taekwondo
athletes with physical disabilities. In order to participate in Official World and European Championships athletes are required to hold a particular belt or above as well as Dan.


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