Revised rule makes taekwondo game exciting
“Taekwondo is dynamic and exciting as fighters’ feet fly in the air.” “ This time, the taekwondo game is 100 times the excitement than before when fighters were boringly eager to flee.”
These are some of the reactions spectators showed during taekwondo matches at the ExCel-South Arena in London, Wednesday. During the matches, there was also chanting by spectators.
There is a good sign of a possible “big hit” in the Korean martial art, taekwondo, in London. There was strong tension through the matches as it was hard to predict who would win due to new point system under which only one kick might turn the tables using the new transparent electronic scoring system.
It was reported that spectators could hardly turn their eyes from every match due to escalating excitement.
The arena was so crowded with spectators with few seats available through the end of the matches although the final one of the day ended after 10:30 p.m. Strong favorite Lee Dae-hoon of Korea had to fight neck and neck in the 58kg division from the first round until the semifinal.
Such excitement has come after the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) responded to repeated hard pressure to invigorate boring matches by the International Olympic Committee. There were even rumors that the martial art would be removed from the Olympics. The taekwondo community was engulfed with fear that the sport would be kicked out of the world sports festival when the IOC announced that one of 26 sports will be dropped at its congress in Buenos Aires in September next year after checking all the games in London.
To make the match further dynamic and exciting, the WTF reduced the size of mat on which taekwondo matches are fought to eight meters from 10 meters in width and length. The scoring system has also changed. From this Olympics, a turning kick gives two points compared to one to a linear kick. Three points are given to fighters who successfully attack the competitor’s head and four points for a turning kick to the head. If there is no attack for 10 seconds, the fighter suffers deduction of points. As a result, fighters are obliged to attack more to get more points.
More than anything else, the WTF has introduced electronic body protector and prompt video reading system to prevent possible wrong calls by referees.
Points are lit on the electronic board immediately when fighters hit the electronic sensor on the upper part of the body.
“The revised rules have been much applauded in the London Olympics,” Choue Chung-won, president of the WTF said, expressing strong pride that the martial art would remain in the Olympics.