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World News

Taekwondo unveils all-new innovations at Tokyo 2020

The sport gets new players, new technology, a new look - even a new competitive format

[By NBC-1TV K, Y Yi] CHIBA, Japan (July 22, 2021) – The Taekwondo that will be contested at Tokyo 2020 will not be the same Taekwondo that was contested at Rio 2016 as the game continues to develop, improve and innovate.

New players are joining the game, new technology is upgrading transparency, a new look is upgrading sports presentation and a new, high-impact format is being introduced as a showcase.

Moreover, a new regulation is being implemented to ensure athletes’ wellbeing.

Diehard fans, however, should not fret: The changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary. All these innovations will be on show when the action kicks off at the Makuhari Messe Hall A in Chiba, a seaside suburb of Tokyo, on July 24.

New Players

Requiring no equipment beyond the human body, Taekwondo has long been one of the world’s most economical sports, offering developing nations realistic chances at Olympic glory. And in an initiative to empower the powerless – refugees and displaced persons – Taekwondo has been deployed in refugee camps in Jordan, Rwanda and Turkey.

In Chiba, a new Taekwondo team will make its Olympic debut: Olympic Refugee team (EOR) comprises Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin (W-57kg), Dina Pouryounes (W-49kg) and Abdullah Sediqi (M-68kg).

“Taekwondo is a sport that prioritizes inclusivity,” said World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue. “I know the world Taekwondo family will embrace these athletes and cheer them on as they fight in the competition of their lives in Chiba.”

New Technology

Transparency is a core concept in both audience comprehension and sportive fairness. To optimize Taekwondo’s transparency, replays run over giant LED screens set up over and around the field of play.

Video replays have two aims. Action replays engage the audience during the down time between rounds, while video replays allow corner judges to carefully review contested point calls, using close-ups and slow-motion.

And replays just got better - much better. In Chiba, a “4D” camera rig, employing 100 cameras, will make its Olympic debut.

For the audience, this will enable action replays featuring the kind of visual effects pioneered in the science-fiction thriller “The Matrix.” For corner judges, the rig’s vast array of cameras means there will be blind spots hidden from their eyes as they assess contested points.

New Look

Olympic taekwondo players hone their physiques to a peak of athletic perfection, but these physical attributes are largely invisible to the audience - hidden by the baggy traditional uniform, or dobok, over which is worn the head guard and torso protector.

To upgrade Taekwondo’s sport presentation, a new uniform is being pioneered in Chiba.

In a bow to tradition, it retains the white coloration and general design of the classic dobok. However, it is cut slimmer, to showcase the physiques of the wearers and to present a more streamlined silhouette. It also includes national flag designs on the pant leg for a splash of color.


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