|World Taekwondo Federation|
President Choue Chung-won
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) "stresses transparency and objectivity above all in scoring," which often gives a hard time to combat sports which take more than just a track and a stopwatch to judge.
Boxing, wrestling and judo have all been sources of Olympic judging controversies, and taekwondo was no exception — until it finally won the approval of fans and the IOC as a fair competition at the 2012 London Games.
With the introduction of headgear equipped with electronic sensors at the Rio Olympics, taekwondo took one more step forward as a fairer and more interesting sport, fascinating spectators and many IOC members alike, said World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Choue Chung-won in an interview.
"Sitting beside me at the taekwondo area, IOC President Thomas Bach said he had to leave in 30 minutes, but he didn't," Choue said. "He stayed there for more than an hour. And he expressed appreciation for the WTF's efforts to make the sport fair and interesting when he finally left. It wasn't just the president. Many IOC members watched taekwondo matches and spoke highly of its development."
In addition to the new headgear, the WTF adopted a smaller, octagonal mat in order to encourage taekwondo athletes to be more aggressive. All these changes turned out to be a great success, he said.
"They made the competition more interesting. Some of the matches were not decided until the last few seconds. With a spinning kick literally in the last second of the bout, Cheick Sallah Cisse won the Ivory Coast's first-ever Olympic gold medal," he said. "There were many dramatic bouts and no judging controversies or technical errors in Rio."
For the Tokyo Games in 2020, more improvements will be made.
"Taekwondo uniforms with different colors received positive feedback in Rio. Fans may see more diverse uniforms in Tokyo," Choue said.
Changes in scoring systems may also be on the way. Some point out that, by adjusting impact sensors in the helmet and chest guard, the WTF can make taekwondo bouts more exciting.
All these suggestions will be discussed at the WTF's general assembly in November.
"Taekwondo will make its historic Paralympic debut in the Tokyo Games. We will make a new leap forward with it," he said.