What's it all about?
You’re in an action movie — you’re the star! — and the bad guy is never going to see what’s coming. A fight’s going to go down, but you’re going to win using ONLY YOUR FEET. Into it? Then para taekwondo is probably the sport for you!
How it's played
The teams: Both men and women compete in three different weight ranges and upper body impairment classes each. This makes for fairer matches since they only compete against other athletes of the same size as them.
The match: When competitors are evenly paired, matches can go on for a while! All the athletes in one weight class compete for medals in one single day so you can watch the whole day of elimination, or just watch the finals.
The equipment: All athletes wear protective gear on their chests and heads. They also wear gloves and socks that have electronic sensors! They compete on a matted, octagonal field where they can move around for the judges to see all their moves.
The bout: Kick your opponent in the protective vest on their torso using three different kicks, each with different point values. At the same time, try to dodge or block their kicks! Kicks to the head score a foul.
The points: The three different kicks get different points, depending on difficulty. Two points for a valid kick, three points for a 180-degree turn kick and four points for a 360-degree turn kick pivoting from a rear kick. Most points after three rounds wins!
The athletes: It's all about power and control… and some fancy footwork! You need really strong legs since para taekwondo is all about kicking your opponent to gain points.
Did you know? Taekwondo is one of two new Paralympic Games sports for Tokyo 2020.
Things to watch for
Chest kicks only
- In para taekwondo, only kicks to the torso are allowed.
- Points are given for three types of kicks: a plain valid kick, a 180-degree turn kick and a 360-degree spinning kick that pivots from a rear kick.
- Athletes competing in para taekwondo have different levels of impairment to their arms.
- They have to use unique and creative skills to defend against an opponent's attack and stop them from getting points.
Points and protection
- Every time an opponent delivers a kick to their torso, points are awarded.
- Not only does the vest track each point per kick, but it also provides protection from the kicks as well.