WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships

Santa Cruz – Aruba, Nov 22: Azerbaijan clinched six gold, six silver and three bronze medals to defend its overall title at the 3rd WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships, which took place in Santa Cruz, Aruba on Nov. 22, 2012.

Spain took two golds and one bronze for the second place in the overall medal tally, followed by Iran with two gold medals, Canada with one gold and one bronze, and Ukraine with one gold.

A total of 53 athletes from 12 countries competed at the 3rd World Para-Taekwondo Championships, which took place at the Centro Deportivo gymnasium in Santa Cruz, Aruba. Twenty-one countries earlier sent their entry lists of athletes and officials to the Aruba Organizing Committee for the 3rd World Para-Taekwondo Championships.

The participating countries were Azerbaijan, Spain, Mongolia, Brazil, Russia, France, Guatemala, Iran, Croatia, Canada, Finland and Australia.

The inaugural World Para-Taekwondo Championships were held in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 10, 2009, drawing a total of 36 athletes and 18 officials from 16 countries. France took the overall title, followed by Azerbaijan and Turkey. The 2nd championships were held in St. Petersburg, Russia on May 11, 2010, which attracted 65 athletes from 21 countries. Azerbaijan clinched the overall title, followed by Turkey and Spain.

The one-day event featured 10 male and four female categories. The Olympic weight divisions applied to the championships: -58kg, -68kg, -80kg and +80kg for male contestants and -49kg, -57kg, -67kg and +67kg for female athletes.

A Daedo Protector and Scoring System (PSS) and an instant video replay system were used for the Aruba championships. Modified competition rules applied to the championships. Attacks to the head were banned and the duration of the contest was three rounds of one minute each with a one-minute break between rounds.

Weight categories were modified as follows: amputation with both limbs above elbows (A5), amputation of one limb above the elbow (A6), amputation of both limbs below the elbows (A7), and amputation of one limb below the elbow (A8).

An opening ceremony was held at the venue for the 3rd WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships and the 2012 World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships scheduled for Nov. 23-25, 2012 at the same venue. The World Cup event has drawn 90 male athletes from 13 countries and 69 female athletes from 10 countries.

The opening ceremony drew high-ranking officials, including Aruban Health and Sport Minister Richard Visser and Aruban Infrastructure Minister Oslim Servinger. Also at hand were WTF President Chungwon Choue and Jose Cornelio, president of the Aruba Taekwondo Association, along with WTF Council members.

WTF President Choue said in his speech during the opening ceremony, “The spirit of Olympism inspires generations, young and old to aspire to their dreams. We can see here today, through the bright eyes of these athletes, that taekwondo embodies every aspect of the spirit of Olympism. The dreams that taekwondo brings to so many is felt throughout the world.”

“The hope that taekwondo brings is limitless. It knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability ,” Choue said. “There is no gender that it favors or age that it discriminates against. Taekwondo truly is a sport for all that inspires and embodies anyone that experiences it. I know from these athletes here today, there is still much more to come.”

Dr. Choue concluded his speech by saying, “The London 2012 Olympic Games was the greatest competition of our history. Rio 2016 will be even greater, but I say to you athletes here in Aruba, your road to the Olympics, and hopefully soon the Paralympics, begins here today.” “Faster, higher, stronger. Fairer, more dynamic, spreading hope and dreams to the world. This is taekwondo! You are taekwondo!”

The opening ceremony featured a variety of Aruban cultural performances and a WTF taekwondo demonstration. Early in the morning, the WTF held an extraordinary Council meeting at the Holiday Inn in Aruba.

The Council gave Indonesia the right to host the 2013 WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championship in Bali. It also approved the establishment of WTF Grand Prix series.

Pending the WTF’s final approval at the General Assembly, the WTF Council also approved a membership for three countries – Curacao, South Sudan and Sierra Leone – to increase its overall membership to 204. —- WTF

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