MOSCOW, Russia (20 June 2014) - The world's elite para-taekwondo athletes gathered in Moscow today for the final weigh-in and classification before tomorrow's World Para-Taekwondo Championships, with the fifth and largest ever edition of the competition set to underline para-taekwondo's case for inclusion in the Paralympic Games Sports Programme in Tokyo in 2020.
Some 120 kyorugi and poomsae athletes from about 40 countries across all five International Paralympic Committee (IPC) regions were classified according to the WTF's newly introduced, IPC-standard classification rules and regulations. The WTF has acted on recommendations from the IPC and taken steps to make the sport as fair and as exciting as possible, conducting extensive sport-specific research at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
Male and female kyorugi athletes across three weight divisions will compete in four different classes during the two-day Championships ensuring maximum depth of field for limb deficiency athletes and a fair, equal and safe tournament. The classes are:
o K44 = Loss of hands through the wrist (one or two)
o K43 = Bilateral amputation through or below the elbow
o K42 = Unilateral through the shoulder amputation or bilateral above the elbow
o K41 = Bilateral amputation through the shoulder joints.
WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
"This is the second time the World Para-Taekwondo Championships have come to Russia. The WTF has developed a great working relationship with the Russian Paralympic Committee and the Russian Taekwondo Union. We have classified a record number of athletes from a record number of countries and I have no doubt that these Championships will showcase just what a dynamic and inclusive sport para-taekwondo is. I am optimistic that this event will show the quality, excitement and universality para-taekwondo can bring to the Paralympic Games in 2020.
"We have worked closely with the IPC and IOSDS to develop our new classification system and we are delighted to have the chance to implement it here. Of course, we are still looking to enhance our sport wherever we can and we will use these Championships to conduct additional research to refine our procedures even further."
The WTF will also implement an injury surveillance system at this year's Championships to guarantee athlete safety and ensure that the necessary amendments are made to competition rules in line with IPC best practices.