If you haven’t quite had your fix of Olympic level combat sports this summer, there’s no need to fret as the 2016 Paralympics have just gotten underway with a much-talked about opening ceremony; which starred insane wheelchair stunts, a packed Maracana, and a confiscated Russian flag. The 2016 Paralympic Games runs for 11 days and brings together 4300 athletes from 159 competing nations – we’re going to look at Paralympic Judo, as well as the future of Paralympic Judo and Paralympic Karate, whose organisations have both recently received exciting news regarding their involvement at future Summer Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Judo has been a staple of the Paralympic Games since its inclusion in the 1988 Seoul Games (at which GB’s Simon Jackson took home gold in the Men’s 60kg event), and has appeared at every Paralympic Games since. The sport’s most storied competitor is Brazil’s Antonio Tenorio, who took home home gold at Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing, as well as a bronze in London – and will again be competing in this year’s field.
Other than the judokas beginning the bout in a clinch, the rules of the sport remain largely the same as in Olympic Judo. Judokas are categorised based on their visual acuity and field of vision. GB’s Sam Ingram is hoping that that the third time will be the charm as he’s gunning to improve on a Beijing bronze and a silver in London in the 90kg event. Elsewhere, Jack Hodgson (100kg+), Jono Drane (81kg) and Chris Skelley (100kg) are all World Games medallists and will all be aiming to medal in Rio.
Although Taekwondo will not be represented in Rio, it has been accepted into the fold for the very first time for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games – Chungwon Choue of the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) stated that they were “both delighted and humbled” by the decision. This is life-changing news for Amy Truesdale, GB’s premier Para Taekwondo practitioner, who stands as the reigning world and European champion in the 58kg class, and will now have the opportunity to add Paralympic Champion to her already impressive record.
There’s great news for Paralympic Karate as the sport has officially granted inclusion into the International Paralympic Committee after an 8-year process, which will allow it to bid for a place in the 2024 Games. This is fantastic news for the World Karate Federation, who have seen the sport grow rapidly through the success of recent World Championships.
If you’ve been inspired to take part by the Herculean efforts of the world’s very best Paralympians or are a disabled athlete looking to take up a new Paralympic combat sport, you’re going to want to be geared up with the very best apparel and equipment – Bytomic have available quality Karate Gis * Belts, Taekwondo and Judo Uniforms.