A special committee is being convened to discuss rule changes following the World Taekwondo Championships here, with removing sensors on pads in athletes’ socks so as to stop kicks with the side of the foot scoring being one possible alteration.
The Championships, declared the “best ever” by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Chungwon Choue, were the first global event at which a number of technological innovations were seen.
This included the introduction of octagonal mats and sensors within headgear, as well as the scoring of three points for a spinning kick to the body, rather than two.
Yet, despite the general success of the event which closed here last night, concerns were raised about the consistency of the electronic sensors, as well as the consequent tendency for fighters to adopt negative and defensive tactics so as to profit on the scoreboard.
Choue, an integral figure in the initial introduction of electronic scoring following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, an event marked by several controversial decisions, claimed the newly introduced measure had all been successful, but admitted further changes need to be made.
“We will be assessing the points system and the use of the sensor in the socks,” he told insidethegames.
“Many coaches and international referees are advising me to take out those bottom pads.
“That is something the taekwondo community will discuss.
“I don’t know if we can do that before Rio 2016, but if all the coaches and referees are in agreement, then we can do that before the Games.”
While some fighters, most notably Turkey’s Servet Tazegül, still won through an explosive and attacking style, these were in the minority, and many others, including various dominant members of the Iranian male and South Korean female teams, were far more conservative.
They would often move forward with a raised lead leg, scoring via a precise yet relatively genteel push-tap rather than a traditional kick, while other kicks delivered by whipping the side of the leg around the back of the opponent are also considered problematic.
Outlawing kicks with the side of the foot would help eradicate these tactics, it is thought, encouraging a return to a more traditional and aesthetically pleasing style.
Choue revealed he is organising a special Ad Hoc Committee to look into these matters, supplementing the work of the WTF Technical Committee while also seeking opinions from athletes, coaches and other key figures in the sport.
No specific timeframe has been given for recommendations to be made, but next month’s European Games in Baku is expected to be a major opportunity for discussions, he said, simply because a lot of members of the taekwondo community will be there.
This Committee will also assess the electronic scoring system following an incident involving Britain’s Olympic champion Jade Jones in her under 57kg quarter-final here against Iran's eventual bronze medallist, Kimia Zernoorin.
After the electronic system malfunctioned with seconds to go in the final round, Jones registered a seemingly successful headkick only to be denied what would have been winning points due to the scoring system not being active.
Choue speculated it may have been caused by the fact five matches were taking place on parallel courts, meaning there was more background noise and consequent disruption.
This would be less of an issue at an Olympics and most other tournaments when only one match ever takes place at once.
Reducing the time spent to review decisions, which has on occasions taken over five or six minutes, will also be looked at, Choue said, due to concerns that the lengthy delays detract from the spectacle while also causing problems with the scheduling of matches.
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