The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has reassigned hosting rights for its inaugural Beach Championships to the Greek island of Rhodes.
The first edition of the World Beach Championships was due to take place on the Indonesian island of Bali from July 23-24 last year, but was cancelled by the WTF in June due to financial difficulties at the local organising committee.
Rhodes will now host the maiden event from May 5-6, with athletes competing across 26 different divisions. The inaugural event will not include kyorugi, or sparring, competition. Instead, it will feature recognised and free style poomsae competition, and two new competitive categories specially created for the beach championships in the shape of technical breaking and freestyle dynamic kicks and breaking challenge.
Special beach uniforms featuring sleeveless shirts, tank tops, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, and long trousers are currently being adopted. Muslim athletes may wear the hijab. Athletes will also be permitted to wear sports sunglasses to reflect their new beach environment.
“We are always looking to diversity in our sport, and we see beach taekwondo as a new opportunity to take our players out of the arena and into the sunshine,” WTF president Chungwon Choue said. “Having inaugurated beach taekwondo, we expect taekwondo to go onto the program of the first World Beach Games in San Diego, USA, in 2019 – offering yet another venue for our athletes to shine.”
The concept of beach taekwondo was first unveiled by Choue during Mexico City’s Grand Prix Final in December 2015.