alt THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) have accepted that the number of bronze medals to be awarded in taekwondo at the Olympic Games will be increased to two starting with next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing and including London 2012.


The IOC accepted the World Taekwondo Federation’s (WTF) request for an extra medal on the grounds that a third against forth play-off could undermine an athletes’ health.

As the world’s sole taekwondo governing body, recognized by the IOC in 1980, the WTF sent a letter to the IOC back in April to request the change.


This decision will be welcomed by all 184 countries within the WTF’s membership, including Britain.


Gary Hall, Britain's performance director, said: “This decision is a massive step forward for the sport and will be warmly met by the whole international taekwondo community.


"Had this being in place in (Sydney) 2000, Sarah Stevenson would have brought home a bronze medal at a time when she was the youngest member of Team GB at the Games.


"An additional fight to determine a single bronze medallist could seriously undermine an athletes’ health.


"This will give the Great Britain squad an added incentive to qualify for the Olympics at the event in Manchester later this year and I have every confidence that team is on-course to do so.”


Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, said: “The British Olympic Association welcomes the development of awarding a bronze medal to each of the semi-finalists in the Olympic Taekwondo tournament.


"This brings the sport of Taekwondo in line with the other Olympic fighting sports of boxing, judo and wrestling, and could improve medal prospects for Team GB in a sport where we have achieved great results outside Olympic Games but are still pursuing an elusive first Olympic taekwondo medal.”