Para taekwondo will make its debut at the Tokyo Games in 2021, becoming the second contact sport on the Paralympic programme, 33 years after judo was added. Kyorugi is a Paralympic taekwondo discipline for athletes with upper limb impairments, split into two sports classes. Athletes are divided into weight categories.
Para taekwondo is a relatively new sport that was conceived in 2005 and has been growing ever since. The first World Championships were held in 2009 and the sport was later added to the Paralympic programme. Athletes’ captivating performance at the sport’s first Paralympic Games – which will be broadcast worldwide – will no doubt boost participation all over the globe.
Brief overview of the rules
Fights feature three two-minute rounds with one-minute rest intervals. Athletes wear protective equipment – including head protectors – and deliver kicks to their opponent’s torso. Two points are awarded for regular kicks, whereas spinning kicks are given three or four points. Fouls – such as kicks to the head, crossing over the boundary line and falling down – are counted as one additional point for the opponent. An electronic scoring system – with sensors fitted on the trunk protector and foot guards – is used. In taekwondo, only kicks to the torso count as valid attacks – any kick to the head is considered a foul.
There are several ways for a competitor to win a fight – by building a 20-point lead, being the first to score 40 points or having the most points at the end of the six minutes of regulation time. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time, an overtime round is held. If there is still a tie at the end of the overtime round, the winner will be decided by the judges based on several criteria, including technical skill, the number of hits registered and fighting spirit.
There are three weight categories for men – -61 kg, -75 kg and +75 kg – and three for women -49 kg, -58 kg and +58 kg.
World Taekwondo: www.worldtaekwondo.org