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Taekwondo adopts new rules for Rio Olympics

All Headlines 15:41 July 25, 2016

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- The Korean traditional martial art of taekwondo has adopted a series of new rules for next month's Rio de Janeiro Olympics designed to bring more transparency and excitement to the event.

The Seoul-based World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) announced these changes at a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

One major change is the introduction of headgear equipped with electronic sensors. The chest protectors with sensors were put in play at the 2012 London Olympics.

Also, an octagon-shaped competition area will be used at an Olympics for the first time in Rio. It has already been in place at world championships and other international events.

The WTF believes the octagonal surface will reduce blind spots for referees and will ensure more accurate and transparent judging.

There will be a new scoring system in Rio. At the London Olympics, a hit to the body was worth one point; a turning kick to the body was worth two points; a kick to the head was good for three; and a turning kick to the head was worth four.

This time, a turning kick to the body will score three points.

The athletes will also have their own entrance music, a la closers in baseball. The Olympic participants will be able to choose their songs on a smartphone app, and they will be blared through the arena for the final and for the bronze medal match.

The WTF said there will be 30 referees from 30 nations, 15 of them men and 15 women.

WTF President Choue Chung-won said taekwondo, once considered a strong candidate to be excluded from the Summer Games, has firmly established itself as a viable Olympic sport.

"There's so much parity in taekwondo that the eight gold medals at the London Olympics were won by eight countries," Choue said. "We've prepared a lot for Rio so that we could remain in the Olympic program."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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