March 17 - The taekwondo hall at the Shenzhen Sports School in China has been designated as a regional training centre for juniors by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The centre, the first of its kind, was opened during a special board-hanging ceremony.
The 303 square metre taekwondo hall is one of the largest taekwondo-dedicated training spaces in the world.
The board-hanging ceremony was attended by WTF President Chungwon Choe and other dignitaries from the Chinese Taekwondo Association and the Shenzhen Sports School.
"The Shenzhen WTF junior training centre will serve as a regional base for youth training, for seminars and workshops for young athletes, and for training courses for international referees, coaches and taekwondo administrators," said Choue.
"Moreover, I also expect that this centre will become a training centre for Para-athletes.
"Having achieved Olympic status for taekwondo in 2020 as a core sport, the WTF sees Paralympic recognition as its next big mission.
"Para-taekwondo kyorugi has been shortlisted for the official programme of the 2020 Paralympic Games.
"A final decision will be made in October this year in Berlin, Germany."
The Shenzhen Sports School becomes the fifth WTF-designated regional training centre in the world and the second in China after the Shichahai Sports School, which opened in 2008, became the WTF's first regional training centre.
The second training centre, Musado Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, came in 2009 followed shortly by a third in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
A fourth WTF regional training centre was opened in 2010 in Tehran, Iran.
Countries including Russia, Croatia and Kazakhstan have also shown a willingness to have a WTF-designated regional training centre opening in their country showing the increasing popularity of the sport across the globe.
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