April 8 - This year's Oceania Taekwondo Championships have been moved to the Sydney Olympic Park after original hosts Papua New Guinea informed the Oceania Taekwondo Union (OTU) they would not be able to stage the event.
The sixth edition of the Championships had been due to be held in Port Moresby from June 18 to 19, but officials in Papua New Guinea have indicated they will not now be able to hold the event as they "have enough on their plate" according to secretary general of the OTU, John Kotsifas.
Kotsifas, President of Sports Taekwondo Australia (STA), told insidethegames that Australia stepped in and offered to host the event after no other Oceania country was able to do so.
Papua New Guinea is set to host its first ever international taekwondo competition on June 21 and 22, when the Papua New Guinea Open takes place in Port Moresby, and Kotsifas indicated that the hosting of the Oceania Championships just two days before was more they could handle.
The cost of travelling to Papua New Guinea and a clash with mid-year exams for many of the athletes were also cited as reasons for the switch according to Kotsifas.
"We received feedback from a number of Oceania countries who indicated that they would not be able to attend the Oceania championships which were originally scheduled for Papua New Guinea because it coincided with their mid-year exam period for many of their athletes," said Kotsifas.
"There was also feedback that for many Oceania countries, travel to Papua New Guinea was going to be very expensive (via Australia) and their attendance was also going to a be a problem for this reason as well."
The Championships will now take place in the same week as the Australian Open, with both events due to be held at the Sydney Olympic Park.
The Australian Open had been originally scheduled for June 26 and 27 but will now take place on August 16 and 17, straight after the Oceania Championships, which are scheduled for August 14 and 15.
Both events will give athletes the opportunity to gain valuable world ranking points to go towards qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Athletes will also have the opportunity to secure a place on the 2014 World Taekwondo Federation Grand Prix tour which stops in Suzhou, China; Astana, Kazakhstan; Manchester, England and Queretaro, Mexico from July to December.
As a result of the new schedule, the Australian National Championships, which had been due to be held in Sydney in the same week, will now be held at a later date this year.
Kotsifas confirmed that a new date for the Australian Nationals will be announced later this week.
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