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Have you ever heard of paralympic taekwondo? Also known as para-taekwondo, it’s an adaptation of the sport for athletes with physical disabilities. We’ve put together all about paralympic taekwondo so that enthusiasts have no doubts.

Paralympic taekwondo was introduced to provide an inclusive opportunity for disabled practitioners to take part in high-level competitions.

The rules of paralympic taekwondo are similar to those of traditional taekwondo, but adapted to ensure safety and fairness among competitors.

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All about paralympic taekwondo: history

The history of paralympic taekwondo begins in 2005, when the World Taekwondo Federation (WT, formerly known as WTF – World Taekwondo Federation) began exploring the inclusion of taekwondo as an adapted sport for athletes with disabilities. This was the first formal step towards para-taekwondo.

In 2009, the first official para-taekwondo competition was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. This inaugural event marked the formal start of para-taekwondo as a sport recognized by the WT.

In 2013, para-taekwondo was included in the official program of the Parapan American Games, significantly increasing its visibility and acceptance in the Americas.

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The following year, the inclusion of para-taekwondo in the Asian Paralympic Games marked another important step for the sport’s growth on the international stage.

Taekwondo at the Paralympic Games

In 2015, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that para-taekwondo would be included in the program of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This important recognition solidified para-taekwondo’s status as an official Paralympic sport.

And indeed: para-taekwondo made its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the games were held in 2021. This debut was a significant milestone in the history of para-taekwondo, bringing greater attention and prestige to the sport.

Since its inclusion in the Paralympic Games, para-taekwondo has continued to grow, with the World Taekwondo Federation and other national organizations working to expand the sport.

All about paralympic taekwondo: classes

Competitions are divided into categories based on the athletes’ disability class. In para-taekwondo, the main form of disability considered is physical disability in the upper limbs.

The taekwondo sports classes are defined by the letter P (poonse – form) and K (kiorugui – fight). The Poonse class is contested by athletes with visual impairment P10, intellectual impairment – P20, physical impairment – P30 and short stature – P70.

While the KP60 class is for the deaf, the Kiorugui class is for the physically disabled – K40.

The classes are identified as K44 (less severe) and K43 (more severe), based on the functionality of the arms. However, only K44 is part of the Paralympic Games.

Thus, K44 includes athletes with unilateral amputation of the elbow up to the hand joint, unilateral dysmelia, monoplegia, mild hemiplegia and size difference in the lower limbs, bilateral amputation of the elbow up to the hand joint, and bilateral dysmelia.

All about paralympic taekwondo: subcategories

In addition to class divisions, para-taekwondo athletes are divided into weight categories:


  • Up to 58kg
  • Up to 63kg
  • Up to 70kg
  • Up to 80kg
  • Over 80kg


  • Up to 47kg
  • Up to 52kg
  • Up to 57kg
  • Up to 65kg
  • Over 65kg

Top paralympic taekwondo athletes

1 – Amy Truesdale (United Kingdom)

One of the pioneers of para-taekwondo, Amy Truesdale is a multiple world champion and competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 +58kg category.

2 – Mahirdan Mamayev (Azerbaijan)

A leading para-taekwondo competitor, Mamayev won the silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 -75kg category.

3 – Lisa Gjessing (Denmark)

One of the leading para-taekwondo athletes, Gjessing won the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 -58kg category.

4 – Juan Diego García López (Mexico)

Paralympic champion at Tokyo 2020 in the K44 -75kg category, García López is an emerging star in para-taekwondo.

5 – Meryem Betül Cavdar (Turkey)

She won the silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 -49kg category and is one of Turkey’s leading para-taekwondo competitors.

6 – Bopha Kong (France)

Competing in the K43 -61kg category, Kong is a renowned athlete and medalist in several para-taekwondo world championships.

7 – Janine Watson (Australia)

A bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 +58kg category, Watson is an active supporter of para-taekwondo in Australia.

8 – Deborah Louz (Netherlands)

Competing in the K44 -58kg category, Louz has excelled in international competitions and is an important figure in para-taekwondo.

9 – Fatemeh Hemmati (Iran)

An Iranian athlete who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the K44 -58kg category, Hemmati is one of her country’s leading competitors.

10 – Mongkhon Bunsun (Thailand)

Competing in the K44 -61kg category, Bunsun is one of Thailand’s most recognized para-taekwondo athletes, with several medals in international competitions.

Now that you know all about paralympic taekwondo, check out our content on the original sport. On our site, you’ll also find articles on various other fighting styles, other sports and even games!

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