Gold Medal Olympics

Taekwondo and the Junior Olympics

Junior Olympics Taekwondo

Participating in the TaeKwonDo Youth Olympic Games is something that young Taekwondo athletes from all over the world often look forward to. Based on the format of the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games offer athletes between the ages of 6 and 24 the chance to showcase their Martial Arts talents to the whole world.

The Junior Olympics for TaeKwonDo is an event held every 2 years for participants between the ages of 6 to 24 and simulates the Olympic Games for Adults. In this way it helps prepare Taekwondo students for the next step in their competitive training.

This post takes a look at everything you should know as far as Taekwondo at the Junior Olympic Games is concerned.

History of Taekwondo at the Junior Olympics

Youth Taekwondo has been an integral part of the Youth Olympic Games since the inaugural edition in Singapore 2010. Held at an interval of four years just like the Olympic games, Taekwondo Junior Olympics was last held at the Youth Olympic Games in October 2018 at the Polideportivo Roca Park in Buenos Aires.

Athletes born between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2002, were eligible to participate in 10 sets of awards with five different weight categories for both boys and girls.

Like I’ve  noted, Taekwondo was among the first games played at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. The winter Youth Olympic Games was then held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012 followed by the summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.

The next winter edition was held in Lillehammer, Norway in 2016 with the last summer Youth Olympic Games held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018.

So far, Iran leads in the medal ranking with a total of 9 medals (6 Gold, 2 Silver, and 1 Bronze) followed by Russia with 9 medals (5 Gold, 2 Silver, and 1 Bronze). South Korea completes the top 3 with 9 medals (4 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze).

In terms of age, participants at the Taekwondo Youth Olympic Games must be aged between 15 and 18 just like other sports. There are also plans to introduce mixed team Taekwondo at the Youth Olympic Games in 2022. This would mean that a team comprising of males and females would compete in the same team.

The main aim of this format is not only to enhance the level of competition and entertainment but also to enhance gender equality in the world of Taekwondo and sports in general.

Qualifying For The Taekwondo Junior Olympics

Each qualifying National Olympic Committee (NOC) is allowed to participate in a maximum of 6 disciplines, three for each gender. The host nation is given the chance to have athletes in the six weight categories in both genders.

The total number of participating athletes is currently at 100 (50 boys and 50 girls) and is determined by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will likely increase this number to about 120 come 2022 to enable more countries and athletes to participate.

As for the athletes, a participant must be a holder of the nationality of the participating team. He or she must be nominated by the country’s Taekwondo association as long as it’s affiliated and recognized by the World Taekwondo .

They also either need to participate in a District or Regional qualifying event or place first in either forms or sparring the year before. The athlete must also be aged between 6 and 24.

Competition Rules and Format

The Taekwondo Junior Olympics must apply rules set by the World Taekwondo. There single-elimination tournament is broken down into the following format:

  • 5 forms divisions
  • 2 weapons divisions
  • 2 padded weapons sparring
  • 6 Board Breaking Divisions

As such, participating countries are expected to present one athlete per weight division both in boys and girls categories.

Sparring at the Junior Olympics

In terms of sparring time, there should be three rounds each taking one minute and thirty seconds with a minute break between the rounds. Keep in mind that this time is for preliminaries but can be used at the quarter-finals too, especially when there are many participating athletes.

At the semifinals and finals, there should be three rounds each lasting for 2 minutes with a minute break between each round.

At the finals of the tournament, the two undefeated competitors fight for the gold medal. The loser receives the silver medal.

The bronze medal round called “the repechage” is contested between the two competitors that lost in the semi-finals.

Scoring Points When Sparring

  • Punches to the body are awarded 1 point.
  • Kicks to the body awarded one point, but more points are awarded if a spinning technique is executed.
  • Kicks to the face are awarded 2 points with extra points added if a spinning technique is landed.
  • Extra points are giving due to a knockdown.

Junior TaeKwonDo Divisions

The divisions are separated by weight.

Men’s Divisions

  • Under 45kg (not exceeding 45kg)
  • Under 48kg (over 45kg but not exceeding 48kg)
  • Under 51kg (over 48 but not exceeding 51kg)

There are other categories at 55kg, 59kg, 63kg, 68kg, 73kg, 78kg, and over 78kg.

Women’s Division

  • Under 42kg (not exceeding 42kg)
  • Under 44kg (over 42kg but not exceeding 44kg)
  • Under 46kg (over 44kg but not exceeding 46kg)
  • Under 49kg (over 46kg but not exceeding 49kg)

There are other categories at 52kg, 55kg, 59kg, 63kg, 68kg, and over 68kg.

Classification of Awards

Medals will be awarded to the top four athletes in each respective weight division.

  • First place is a Gold medal and a certificate
  • Second place is a Silver medal and a certificate
  • Third-place is a Bronze medal and a certificate

The Equipment and Uniform For Junior Olympics

Here is a list of equipment and uniform worn by a competitor

  • Dobok (Uniform)
  • Headgear
  • Chest(trunk) protector
  • Groin protector
  • Mouthguard
  • Shin protectors
  • Foot protectors
  • Forearm guards
  • TaeKwondo sparring gloves

World Taekwondo License and Entry Fees

To be eligible to participate at the Taekwondo Junior Olympics, all athletes and team officials must have the World Taekwondo Athlete License and the Global Official License. Registration is done online and the participants will be notified via email once the registration is done.

The participating national teams must also pay entry fees to the organizing committee. The early bird registration fees stand at $75 per athlete while regular entry fees stand at $100 per athlete.

Final Thoughts

The Taekwondo Junior Olympics is a great platform that gives young athletes the chance to showcase their skills and abilities.

This is essentially a platform where Taekwondo stars of tomorrow display to the world their talents. Having been held every 4 years since 2010, this exciting competition is only getting better and is becoming an integral part of Taekwondo and the Olympics too.

The most recent Youth Olympic Games was held in 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina where over 4,000 athletes participated in several sports including Taekwondo.The next Taekwondo Junior Olympics is set to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2022. See You There!