European Taekwondo Qualification Tournament to Kick Off in Istanbul, Turkey on Jan. 26 for 2-Day Run
The qualifying event, which will take place at the Ahmet Comert Sport Hall in downtown Istanbul, is expected to draw 131 athletes, including 56 females, from 42 European countries.
The European qualifier, the last of the WTF’s five Continental Union Olympic qualification tournaments, will be officiated by 26 international referees selected among the 184 referees who participated in the WTF International Referee Training Camp for the Beijing Olympic Games held at Woosuk University in Korea in July 2007. The WTF is to finalize the best 29 referees for the Beijing Olympics.
“We are ready to start the European qualifying event and expect a great success,” said a senior official at the Organizing Committee.
The opening day of the European Qualification Tournament will feature four weight categories: the men’s -58kg, the men’s -80kg, the women’s -49kg and the women’s -67kg, while the second and final day will feature another four weight divisions: the men’s -68kg, the men’s +80kg, the women’s -57kg and the women’s +67kg.
Through the European qualifier, a total of 24 slots will be allocated for the Beijing Olympic Games. Each member national association is allowed to field a maximum two male and two female players out of four male and four female Olympic weight categories.
The top three athletes from each of the eight Olympic weight divisions at the European qualifier will qualify their National Olympic Committee a place in the respective event.
A total of 128 athletes are scheduled to compete in the taekwondo competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, during which two bronze medals in each weight categories will be awarded for the first time.
“The WTF places the highest priority on ensuring fair judging and refereeing at all taekwondo competitions,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue in his congratulatory message for the European qualifier.
WTF President Choue said, “As a result of the WTF’s stepped-up referee training, for the first time in the federation’s 34-year history, not a single protest was lodged at the WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament in Manchester, England, and at subsequent continental qualifiers in Africa, Asia and Oceania.” “Fair judging and refereeing is the key to the future of taekwondo as an Olympic sport and its is our responsibility to ensure that only the best athletes become worthy champions.”