IIn 2005 the World Taekwondo Federation formed the Para-Taekwondo Committee in an effort to develop and promote taekwondo to athletes of all disabilities.
Initially para-taekwondo focused on developing 'kyorugi' for limb deficiency and arm amputee athletes and the first WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships was held in 2009 in Baku, Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 2009 WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships.
Since 2009 the WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships has been held an additional four times, in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2010, in Santa Cruz, Aruba in 2012, in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2013 and most recently in Moscow, Russia in 2014. Participation in the Championships has been growing steadily with more than 120 athletes from 37 countries competing in Moscow.
On the occasion of the 4th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships in 2013 a Para-Taekwondo Development Task Force consisting of Para-Taekwondo Committee members and invited guests from CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association) and INAS (International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability) met to discuss the future of Para-Taekwondo. Following their recommendations the decision was taken to expand para-taekwondo and make competitions on a world level available to athletes of all disabilities. It was decided that para-taekwondo poomsae would be the competition format for athletes with Neurological Impairments, Intellectual Disabilities (ID) or Visually Impaired (VI) athletes.
During the 4th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships in 2013 the WTF signed Memorandum of Understandings with INAS and CPISRA to work together for the development and promotion of Para-Taekwondo for athletes with Intellectual Disabilities or Neurological Impairments. Para-taekwondo poomsae competitions for Intellectually Disabled (ID) athletes were held for the first time at the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships in Moscow. Para-taekwondo poomsae has also since been confirmed as a demonstration sport for the 2015 INAS Global Games and the 2015 CPISRA World Games.
On October 16, 2013 the WTF became an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) recognized IF, reflecting the federation's progress and ongoing work in developing para-taekwondo.
WTF President, Dr. Chungwon Choue, met with IBSA (International Blind Sport Federation) President, Ms. Jannie Hammershoi, on November 24, 2013 in Athens, Greece, on the occasion of the IPC General Assembly. The meeting resulted in a MoU between the WTF and IBSA which outlined the future cooperation between the two organizations to develop para-taekwondo for athletes with a visual impairment (VI).The WTF is currently taking part in research conducted with IBSA and the IPC.
In January 2014 the WTF submitted a letter of intent to the IPC to apply for para-taekwondo to be on the 2020 Paralympic Programme. The letter of intent concerned both para-taekwondo kyorugi and poomsae. There were a total of nine (9) sports and disciplines who expressed their intent to bid for a spot on the 2020 Paralympic Programme. The WTF applied for inclusion on the 2016 Paralympic Programme in 2010 but was unsuccessful as para-triathlon and para-canoe were each awarded a place on the programme.
On March 5, 2014 the IPC Governing Board met in Sochi, Russia, prior to the Paralympic Winter Games to deliberate on the short list of sports applying for the 2020 Paralympic Programme. The decision of the IPC Governing Board was to put para-taekwondo and para-badminton on the short list of candidates for the 2020 Paralympic Programme.
The WTF and the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) signed an MoU for the further development of para-taekwondo for limb deficiency athletes and wheelchair athletes on March 8, 2014 during the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. This MoU meant the WTF was connected to all four of the International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled (IOSDs) something that is essential to the development of para-taekwondo as an all-inclusive sport. Para-taekwondo was a demonstration sport at the 10th IWAS World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, the birth place of the Paralympic Games, in August 2014. Para-Taekwondo Kyorugi is set to be a full medal event on the programme of the 2015 IWAS World Games to be held in Sochi, Russia September 26 - October 3, 2015.
WTF completed the second stage of the application process for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Programme in July 2014. During the second stage of the application the current 22 Paralympic sports along with para-taekwondo and para-badminton were reviewed. WTF President, Dr. ChungwonChoue, Vice President, Mr. Phil Coles, and WTF Para-Taekwondo Coordinator delivered a presentation on the bid to the IPC Governing Board at their meeting in Berlin, Germany on October 5, 2014. The IPC Governing Board meeting was held October 5-7, 2014. After the meeting 16 sports were confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Programme. These sports were athletics, archery, badminton, boccia, equestrian, goalball, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The final decision on which of the remaining 8 sports (canoe, cycling, football 5-a-side, football 7-a-side, judo, taekwondo, sailing and wheelchair fencing) will make it onto the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Programme will be taken by the IPC Governing Board at their meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE January 30 - February 1, 2015.
Since 2009 taekwondo has been included in the official programme of the Deaflympics and at the 2013 Deaflympics, taekwondo competitions were held in both Kyorugi and Poomsae. The WTF signed a MoU with the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD) on October 25, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the 2ndSportAccord World Combat Games. Taekwondo will be one of the core sports in the 1st European Deaf Martial Arts Championships in 2015.
The hope that taekwondo brings is limitless, it knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability.
Chungwon Choue, President of the WTF
Para-Taekwondo Classification Master List as of February 2015
Standing Procedure for WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championship (2014-03-18)
4th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships Results
WTF Para-Taekwondo and Deaf-Taekwondo Classification Rules and Regulationsj