The agreement was signed between WTF President Chungwon Choue and ICDS counterpart Valery Rukhledev ©ITG

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed here today between the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to boost opportunities for deaf athletes in the sport.

This comes as the WTF strives to embrace all forms following the announcement taekwondo will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

No events exist for deaf athletes on the Paralympic programme but, following today's agreement, the sport will continue to take place at the Deaflympics while also being incorporated into the World Deaf Martial Arts Championships next year.

These Championships, which will take place just 300 kilometres from here in Magnitogorsk, will see taekwondo on the programme alongside judo and karate, with the event doubling up as the World Deaf-Taekwondo Championships.

Both the WTF and the ICSD share a "common interest" in the development and promotion of taekwondo for deaf athletes, and enabling them to compete under WTF Competition Rules in a "fair and transparent way".

The understanding has been hailed as the "first step" to fulfilling this vision, with both parties deciding that an "additional agreement" between the organisations outlining funding and administrative issues will also be required. 

The agreement signed today between the heads of the WTF and the ICSD ©WTF
The agreement signed today between the heads of the WTF and the ICSD ©WTF

During a briefing this afternoon attended by both WTF head Chungwon Choue and ICSD counterpart Valery Rukhledev, it was argued that this will pave the way for even stronger relations in the future, building up to the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.

“This is very important for deaf taekwondo,” said a clearly satisfied Choue afterwards.

Among other items included is a commitment to work harder to promote the discipline among the 206 taekwondo member nations, to jointly appoint an ICSD technical director for taekwondo and to instate a steering committee to outline future steps.

This will lead to a contract funding the rights and responsibilities of both parties, it is hoped.

"The important thing is to start this affair,” added Rukhledev.

“Where there is a start, there will be a continuation.”

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May 2015:
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April 2015: Mongolia and Iran take two gold medals each at inaugural Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships
February 2015: World Taekwondo Federation President visits Olympic capital to discuss sport's development after Paralympic inclusion
January 2015: Taekwondo to be added to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme as sailing and football seven-a-side miss out