Ancient martial art has made innovations that aim to improve spectator engagement ahead of Rio 2016 Games
Barra Olympic Park will take another important step towards becoming fully operational this weekend as it stages two competitions simultaneously for the first time. The test event for diving, the FINA World Cup that started on Friday and will run until Wednesday (19-24), will be joined by the taekwondo test event, which takes place on Saturday and Saturday.
The taekwondo tournament, which will feature will 64 athletes from 15 countries, will be the fourth test event to be staged at Carioca Arena 1 and the 25th out of a total of 45. During the Olympic Games in August, taekwondo will be staged at the neighbouring Carioca 3, which is 98 per cent complete and having the finishing touches put to it.
Taekwondo is a relatively new Olympic sport, the martial art having been added to the programme at the Sydney 2000 Games. Its name means ‘the way of the feet and hands’ in Korean and its athletes strive to achieve equilibrium between their physical and mental states. Fighters score points by landing kicks and punches on the torso and head of their opponent, but as the majority of points are scored in counter attacks, it is a sport of reaction and quick-thinking rather than brute strength.
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Organised by Rio 2016 in partnership with the Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation (CBTKD), the test event will feature competitions in four of the eight Olympic categories: women’s -49kg and -57kg, and men's -58kg and +80kg.
“This competition is the only opportunity for athletes to orient themselves with the future Olympic venue, and all Rio 2016 schedules, systems and processes that will be followed for the Olympic Games,” said Rio 2016 taekwondo manager Mark Kauffman.
The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has taken steps since the London 2012 Olympic Games to make the sport more dynamic and spectator friendly. The combat area has been changed from a square to an octagon to promote more continuous action, while electronuic sensors in the protective headgear ensure a more transparent scoring system.
Taekwondo chief promises innovations and spectator engagement at Rio 2016
Other aspects that will be the focus of testing include competition area operations, the results system, volunteer and workforce training and doping control.
The event is not open to the general public, but you can see the competition shcedule here and rio2016.com will report on the tournament.