The 6th Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, included Para-Taekwondo Championships for the very first time this weekend (on Nov. 15-16, 2014) as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) continued to demonstrate its commitment to providing universal opportunities for all athletes to take part in elite level competitions under the philosophy of ‘one-taekwondo’.
The first Commonwealth Para-Taekwondo Championships featured poomsae (martial art forms) events for athletes with intellectual disabilities and neurological impairments as well as para-taekwondo kyorugi (full-contact sparring) demonstration matches. While it is only para-taekwondo kyorugi which is under consideration for inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Programme, the WTF has been working closely with all the IOSDs to provide opportunities for athletes of all impairments.
The poomsae events at the first Commonwealth Para-Taekwondo Championships reflected the WTF’s close collaboration with the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (INAS) and the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA).
The WTF signed MOUs with INAS and CPISRA in June 2013 to learn from their experience and expertise and develop the sport for people of all impairments. The WTF followed the INAS provisional eligibility criteria throughout the Championships and para-taekwondo poomsae will be included on the INAS Global Games programme in Ecuador next year.
Speaking after the Championships, WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“We are delighted that, for the first time ever, para-taekwondo championships have been held alongside the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships. This comes a part of our commitment to increasing the number of competitions available to both kyorugi and poomsae para-taekwondo athletes.
“Watching the poomsae events in Scotland, it is clear how much we have benefited from INAS’ expertise and experience in promoting sport for people with intellectual disabilities. The 1st Commonwealth Para-Taekwondo Championships have given many athletes the opportunity to engage in sport that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. If we have the honour of being included on the Paralympic Programme it will act as a catalyst for further growth across all areas of our sport, not just kyorugi.”
Commonwealth Taekwondo Union President, Adrian Tranter, added:
"It is of significant importance that we have been fortunate to include para-taekwondo within the Commonwealth Taekwondo Union Championships. The addition of disabled athletes in the poomsae competitions has increased awareness within the taekwondo family here in Edinburgh and I am certain that other major events will follow our initiative."