Lisa Kjaer Gjessing Danish World Para Taekwondo Champion
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board today (31st January 2015) announced that Taekwondo will have the honour of making its historic debut in the Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020.
We have always been committed to making our sport accessible to all, and inclusion in the Paralympic Games will help us to engage with more people than ever.
Quest Taekwondo’s founder and Chief Instructor, Mike McKenzie, has particularly welcomed the news…
I was very fortunate to work at the London Olympic Games and a great deal of our work was on ensuring a smooth transition from Olympic to Paralympic Games. The staff at LOCOG did not differentiate between the Games and many staff worked on both. The Taekwondo arena transitioned to Boccia, and Makis Peppas (the Taekwondo Services Manager) performed the same role for Boccia. The transition to Para-Taekwondo would have been much simpler from an organisational point of view.
I believe that inclusion in the Paralympics is a coming of age for Taekwondo. I was at the IOC Congress in 1994 when Taekwondo was made an Olympic Sport. At that time it is fair to say the Paralympics did not have the same standing as they do today. Witnessing first-hand the Paralympic Games, and subsequently visiting the IWAS World Junior Championships 2014, I know that the Paralympians match and even surpass the achievements and merits of their Olympic equivalents.
Taekwondo is stronger today because of the IPC’s decision to include it in Tokyo 2020.