In 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 three times, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2012 in Santa Cruz, Aruba and 2013 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Participation in the Championships has been growing steadily.
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 and INAS 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. Para-Taekwondo ‘Poomsae’ will be the competition format for athletes with Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities (ID) or Visually Impaired (VI) athletes.
During the 4th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships the WTF signed Memorandum of Understanding with INAS and CPISRA to work together for the development and promotion of Para-Taekwondo for athletes with Intellectual Disabilities or Cerebral Palsy. Para-Taekwondo Poomsae Competitions will be included in the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships. Para-Taekwondo Poomsae has also 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, a recognition of the ongoing work to develop Para-Taekwondo.
The 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 WTF and IBSA agreeing on the outlines for future cooperation between the organizations to develop para-taekwondo for athletes with a visual impairment.
In January of 2014 the WTF submitted a letter of intent to the IPC to apply for para-taekwondo to be on the 2020 Paralympic Program. 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 program. The WTF applied for inclusion on the 2016 Paralympic program in 2010 but was turned down in favor for para-triathlon and para-canoe.
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 program. 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 Program.
WTF and International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) had been negotiating a MoU for the further development of Para-Taekwondo for limb deficiency athletes and wheelchair athletes. The MoU was signed in a meeting between the WTF and IWAS on March 8, 2014 during the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. With this MoU WTF is 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 is to be a demonstration sport at the 10th IWAS World Junior Games in 2014.
As of March 2014 WTF is going through the second stage of the application process to become part of the 2020 Paralympic Games program. The current 23 Paralympic sports along with Para-Taekwondo and para-badminton are being reviewed. A final decision on the 2020 Paralympic program will be taken by the IPC Governing Board during its meeting in Berlin, Germany on October 6-7, 2014.
The WTF is currently preparing the 5th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships that will be held in Moscow, Russia June 21-22, 2014. This is set to be the biggest World Para-Taekwondo Championships to date in terms of participation nations and athletes. Additionally, Para-Taekwondo Poomsae competitions for Intellectually Disabled athletes will be included in the Championships for the first time. The Championships is recognized by both INAS and IWAS.
Since 2009 Taekwondo has been included in the official program of the Deaflympics and at the 2013 Deaflympics Taekwondo competitions were held in both Kyorugi and Poomsae. The WTF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD) on October 25, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the 2nd SportAccord World Combat Games. Following the MoU the WTF will hold the 1st WTF World Deaf-Taekwondo Championships in November, 2014 in Reno, Nevada, USA.
The hope that taekwondo brings is limitless, it knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability.
Chungwon Choue, President of the WTF
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 Regulations