On the program of the 2014 IWAS World Junior Games as a demonstration, para-taekwondo has wrapped up today on the final day of competition. The sport was the only demonstration sport on the program, with swimming, athletics, table tennis, wheelchair fencing, powerlifting and archery as the full medal sports.
World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Chungwon Choue was quoted in a press release as saying, “It has been a privilege for para-taekwondo to be a part of this year’s IWAS World Junior Games. Events like these are hugely important as they encourage youth participation andprovide young people with a pathway into sport. Young people with impairments may not always feel that they have the same opportunities to engage in sport, but by participating in inspirational events like this, we want to show them that taekwondo is a fun and safe sport which is truly accessible to everyone. […] We are very grateful to be working so closely with IWAS and to be given the chance to learn from their expertise on how to best serve athletes – both young and old – with impairments. We share many of the same values and want to use sport to encourage acceptance, respect and friendship. We hope this will be the beginning of para-taekwondo’s participation in IWAS events and that one day para-taekwondo athletes may compete in the IWAS World Games.”
IWAS President Paul DePace was quoted in the same press release as saying, “It was a pleasure to welcome para-taekwondo as a demonstration sport at this year’s IWAS World Junior Games. We have been working closely with the WTF since we signed an MOU with them in March and we are very satisfied with how the sport is developing. Our vision at IWAS is to inspire worldwide achievements in sport and we have no doubt that para-taekwondo provides a wealth of opportunities for amputee and limb deficiency athletes around the world to do just that.”
The competitors at the IWAS demonstration included Croatian Luka Baković, who medaled at the Para-Taekwondo Championships in Moscow in June. During the Games, people were invited to come and try the sport, and to learn more about it from the most elite athletes in the world.
The next major event on the Para-taekwondo is the Russian championships in early October.