A trial of height categories was held at the European Championships last year ©WTE

World Taekwondo Europe (WTE) has announced that height categories will be used for cadet athletes at next month's Turkish Open, instead of the usual weight divisions.

The competition in Istanbul on February 5 is set to be the first official test event for the new system.

It follows research of the idea from WTE who said there were fears for the health of young athletes when trying to make a weight.

Cadets are aged between 11 and 14.

The continental body claimed some youngsters were "rapidly losing weight" due to "uneducated coaches and parents"

A trial of height classes was held at last year's European Cadet Championships in Marina d'Or in Spain.

Fighters from Turkey and Sweden competed in two divisions - 149 to 152 centimetres and the 165 to 168cm.

WTE had previously studied the idea for 10 months, which included the measuring of more than 1,000 cadets worldwide.

They revealed that 57 per cent were found to have an unhealthy or dangerous score on the body mass index or were close to these levels.

Height divisions will be used in the cadet tournaments at the Turkish Open ©WTE
Height divisions will be used in the cadet tournaments at the Turkish Open ©WTE

The idea was then discussed at the WTE General Assembly in Dublin in November, and the World Taekwondo Council meeting in Moscow the following month.

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue has given the idea his backing and is expected to attend in Istanbul alongside WTE counterpart Sakis Pragalos and other key officials.

All of the height divisions will still have an allowed maximum weight.

"With the main objective the health of the taekwondo athletes and a more concise competition basis for athletes in terms of equability, the way towards the development of the height categories has been given the green light, as the project started by dictation of World Taekwondo Europe President Sakis Pragalos and the support of World Taekwondo President Dr Choue," WTE said.

"Dr Choue has approved the first test event taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, during the seventh Turkish Open.

"The event is open for participation also outside the European continent, and obtains WTE E-1 ranking. 

"Up to now, almost 150 cadet athletes have already been registered, and the ones who have not are strongly encouraged to do so in order to participate in a landmark event for the development and sustainability of the sport."