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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Indian HM asked for priorities Tokyo Olympic athletes for vaccine

India’s Health Ministry has been asked to make Olympic 2020 athletes a “priority” for coronavirus vaccinations after key workers, according to reports. It comes after Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju claimed earlier this month that the country’s squad would all receive the COVID-19 jab.

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Rijiju said, “COVID warriors” such as medical and security staff must come first but it is hoped the Tokyo 2020 team will not be far behind.

We have requested the Health Ministry to put athletes on priority, a Sports Ministry source told media agency Asian News International (ANI). As of now, we are awaiting their reply. Once they respond, we will start executing the process. 

There is still time for the Olympics and we are hopeful that we will be able to do it. We are having discussions with all concerned departments regarding this and we are working on it. The Olympic 2020 Olympics are due to begin on July 23 after being pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the vaccination starts for others, after COVID warriors we want to give it to our players first especially the Olympic-bound athletes, Rijiju told ANI.  First of all, we have to ensure that COVID warriors get the vaccine because they are the ones who protect society.”

Some countries have already begun vaccinating their Olympic 2020 athletes but the idea of protecting young, fit and healthy sportsmen and women before the most vulnerable has naturally prompted criticism. 

“I’m encouraging more international matches in India,” said Rijiju.

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India has been one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus with 11 million cases and 156,000 deaths. The country appears to have passed the peak, however. There was a total of 10,584 recorded cases yesterday compared with 97,894 logged one day last September. 

Rijiju applauded India’s reopening to international sport with an International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup scheduled for New Delhi next month. Badminton’s India Open is planned for May while the ongoing Test cricket series between the hosts and England will continue from tomorrow with the third contest in Ahmedabad. Our teams are going out also, but in the future, I want more international games and competitions to be held in India.

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Olympic Tickets: Iran’s Hadipour opts against ACL surgery to keep Olympic 2020 dream alive

Two-time World Taekwondo Championships medalist Armin Hadipour has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – but still plans to compete at the Olympic 2020 Olympics. The Tehran Times quotes Iran’s coach Fariborz Askari as saying Hadipour will not undergo surgery in the hope of being able to take part at this year’s Olympic 2020 Games.

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“Hadipour will miss the Olympics if he undergoes the surgery,” said Askari.

After consulting with the doctors, we’ve decided to keep him fit for the Olympics without the surgery. Mohammad Bagheri Motamed won a silver medal at London 2012 under the same circumstances.

Hadipour won a bronze medal in the men’s under-54-kilogram division at the 2019 World Championships in Manchester. Two years previous, at the World Championships in Muju, Hadipour won silver. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics appeared to be out of the question when Alizadeh first left Iran, but the Games’ postponement has allowed enough time to make the move official.

Iran’s team travelling to Sofia includes world silver medalists Armin Hadipour, Sajjad Mardani, Soroush Ahmadi and Mirhashem Hosseini, Asian Games silver medalist Amir Mohammad Bakhshi, and Mehran Barkhordari. Hadiour, who won bronze, and runner-up Ahmadi were among Iran’s three medalists at the 2019 World championships.

Now 26, Hadipour also won three consecutive Universiade gold medals – at Gwangju 2015, Taipei 2017 and Naples 2019 – and was one of Iran’s brightest medal hopes for Tokyo 2020 before news of this injury. Iran’s taekwondo players have recently been training with their Bulgarian counterparts, ahead of travelling to Bulgaria for next month’s Sofia Open.

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Olympic Tickets: Croatia dramatically claims final Tokyo Olympic men’s water polo berth

Croatia dramatically secured the final place in the men’s water polo tournament at the Olympic 2020 Games after beating Russia in a penalty shoot-out that required 15 rounds to find a winner.

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Russia had a penalty shot to win it during the fifth round of shots but Croatian goalkeeper Toni Popadic came up with a crucial save to continue proceedings. Nine rounds of shots later Roman Shepelev missed for the Russians, with Josip Vrlic scoring the next penalty for Croatia to give them victory in the bronze medal match at the qualification tournament, as well as the bigger prize of a place at Olympic 2020.

Russia earlier led in the contest at half-time by 7-6 before Croatia took the lead in the third period. Croatia was unable to close the match out in regulation play and Russia came up with an equalizing goal with 16 seconds to go to force the dramatic shoot-out, which meant the final score in the match was 25-24 after penalties.

Olympic Tickets: Croatia’s victory

Croatia’s victory means they have qualified for seven straight Olympic men’s water polo tournaments, with their best result coming when they claimed gold at London 2012 after beating Italy 8-6. The final of the qualification tournament was contested between Montenegro and Greece, with the two countries having confirmed their qualification for Olympic 2020 yesterday by reaching the showpiece match.

Despite there being less at stake it was a competitive and tight affair, with Greece holding a narrow 8-6 lead after three quarters. In the final period, Dusan Matkovic scored a hat-trick for Montenegro as they netted four straight goals to give them a 10-9 victory. Two more placement matches took place on the final day of the competition to decide positions in the rankings. In the battle for fifth hosts, the Netherlands turned a three-goal deficit heading into the final quarter into a one-goal win as they triumphed 10-9 against France.

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Georgia wins against Canada and Tokyo Olympic

In the battle for seventh Georgia ran out comfortable 18-10 winners against Canada, thanks to a second period where Georgia scored a tournament-high eight goals in a single period. Following the conclusion of the action at the Zwencentrum in Rotterdam, the draws for the men’s and women’s Tokyo 2020 water polo tournaments took place.

In the men’s tournament Group, A comprises hosts Japan, South Africa, the United States, Hungary, Greece and Italy while Group B features Australia, Croatia, Serbia, Spain, Kazakhstan and Montenegro. In the women’s tournament.

Group, A comprises Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada while Group B features hosts Japan, Russia, China, Hungary and the United States. The water polo competition in Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to take place at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre from July 24 to August 8.

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Olympic medalist Hashimoto appointed Tokyo Olympic President

Seiko Hashimoto has been appointed Tokyo Olympic President after accepting the vacant role following the resignation of Yoshiro Mori last week.

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Hashimoto said she had met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and had stepped down as Olympics Minister before taking up the position as head of the Organizing Committee for the postponed Games. The 56-year-old Olympic speed skating bronze medalist had been proposed for the job by the Candidate Selection Committee tasked with choosing Mori’s successor but was reportedly initially reluctant to accept.

“I will spare no effort for the success of the Tokyo Games,” Hashimoto said.

Appointing a woman to the role is a highly significant move following the departure of Mori, who resigned after causing an uproar with sexist comments about women. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said appointing a female to lead the Organizing Committee “sends a very important signal about gender equality”.

Hashimoto, who had previously faced allegations of sexual harassment at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, was reportedly one of three candidates shortlisted by the Selection Committee. Japanese media reported Yasuhiro Yamashita, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee and gold medalist in judo at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The Selection Committee, headed by 85-year-old Canon chief executive Fujio Mitarai, fast-tracked its process to find a replacement for Mori, with the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to open in just over five months. It was established after the 83-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister bowed to widespread pressure and resigned as Olympic 2020 President following his sexist remarks when he suggested women talk too much.

As the former Minister of State for Gender Equality and Minister in Charge of Women’s Empowerment, I look forward to her using the Games as a platform to advance the diversity and inclusion agenda, not just in terms of gender, but sexuality, race and, importantly, persons with disabilities.

The sexism row marked the latest crisis for organizers of the first postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games and came amid renewed concerns over whether the event would go ahead following a surge in COVID-19 cases across the world.

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Hashimoto’s seven Olympic Games are a record for a Japanese woman, after her career as a speed skater and a cyclist. She was best known for speed skating, competing on the ice at four Winter Olympics and winning bronze over 1500 meters in Albertville in 1992.

On the bike, Hashimoto competed at three Summer Olympics without winning a medal. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who publicly criticized Mori’s comments before he resigned, Hashimoto became embroiled in her controversy at Sochi 2014 when she was seen kissing and embracing figure skater Daisuke Takahashi at a party.

Hashimoto denied the allegations and Takahashi said he had not been harassed, although she later issued an apology. Back then as well as today, I am still reflecting on myself and what I have done and what it has evolved into.

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Dutch and Russians stage gutsy comebacks at Olympic water polo qualifier

Montenegro and Russia are the last two undefeated sides at the men’s Olympic water polo qualifier in Rotterdam, after the latter produced a brilliant retaliation to defeat Croatia.

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Russia still branded as such by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) contempt World Anti-Doping Agency authorizations – trailed 11-13 in the final retro, but scored three unrequited goals to defeat the 2016 Olympic runners-up and change top of Group B.

The Russians have three wins and one draw, leaving them in pole position to win the group. The Dutch hosts also shaped a remarkable retaliation, recovering from 5-9 down to draw 11-11 with France. Fewer than three seconds remained when The Netherlands scored their final equalizer, winning the fourth quarter 6-2.

Romania beat Germany 12-7 in the group’s other match, eliminating the Germans. A winner-take-all game between Romania and France – level on three points – will decide who will be the final team to advance from Group B, with Croatia, Russia and the host nation all through already.

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France’s goal difference is better than Romania’s. In Group A, already-eliminated Brazil fell 12-8 to Georgia and Montenegro beat Greece 8-4. With Turkey ineligible because of a coronavirus eruption, there were only two games played, and Montenegro, Georgia, Greece and Canada are all finished to the quarter-finals.

Montenegro Rio 2016 fourth-place finishers – will top the group if they avoid defeat versus Georgia tomorrow. The tournament’s top three teams will qualify for this year’s Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo.

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Kenyan boxing coach thanks NOC for support on road to Tokyo Olympic

Kenyan boxing head coach Musa Benjamin has thanked the country’s National Olympic Committee for their financial support on the road to Tokyo Olympic.

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Two Kenyan boxers have already booked their places at this year’s rearranged Games through last year’s African qualifier in Senegal – Nick Okoth in the men’s featherweight and Christine Ongare in the women’s flyweight.

The team was known as the “hit squad” is hoping more will qualify through the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Paris, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now tentatively planned for June. Benjamin said the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) had been with the team every step of the way.

“NOCK has walked with us all through,” he said to Citizen Digital.

They gave us the strength and conditioning coach that is in camp, for now, the nutritionist was also availed by them together with a psychologist. They gave us ring boots and other practicing materials which will help us a lot. 

“The players are very happy because these materials are not cheap. 

We thank NOCK so much for boosting our efforts in trying to send more boxers to the Olympics in Tokyo. Kenya’s team is currently training in capital city Nairobi. Boxing is the only sport the country has won an Olympic medal in outside the traditional Kenyan specialty of athletics and in particular long-distance running.

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The country’s boxers have made the podium seven times, including gold for welterweight Robert Wangila at Seoul 1988. Benjamin’s comments will be a boost for the NOCK which endured a turbulent build-up to the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

Several top officials ended up in court after claims money meant for Kenyan athletes in Brazil was misused, with missing kit among the allegations. Earlier this month, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) held a continental forum online and in Nairobi. New AIBA President Umar Kremlev attended the event in the capital in person.

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Indian Government to vaccinate all athletes bound for Tokyo Olympic

Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has claimed the country’s athletes heading to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will all be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to The Indian Express, Rijiju said the vaccination would be given first to medical and security people, but all athletes would be inoculated in time for Tokyo Olympic. 

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“The Government’s policy is very clear,” he said. 

First of all, the vaccine will be provided to the warriors. the medical and security people. Our Olympic-bound athletes and their trainers will be provided priority in our Ministry but overall priority is set by the Ministry of Health.

They will all be vaccinated before they go for the Olympics, whoever goes. We will also take into account the time between two doses and everything else. India currently has 74 athletes qualified for the Olympics and 24 for the Paralympics, although the qualification is still ongoing in numerous sports.  

Tokyo Olympic was postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Olympics now scheduled from July 23 to August and the Paralympics set to follow from August 24 to September 5. Uncertainty continues to linger over the staging of the Games later this year as many countries are battling to curb rising infection rates.

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympic have stressed vaccines will not be a “silver bullet” for the Games, their development has nonetheless boosted hopes of competition going ahead.   The IOC has repeatedly said it will not jump the queue ahead of those who need a vaccination most and has insisted it will not be mandatory for athletes to compete at the Games.

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A playbook released by the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee for International Federation and technical officials has reiterated vaccines will not be mandatory for participants to attend Tokyo Olympic, with measures such as frequent testing, masks and social distancing set to be in place instead. 

Hungary and Serbia began inoculating their Olympic athletes last week, while Israel’s Olympic Committee says it has already vaccinated half its Olympic delegation and will complete the process by the end of May. Other National Olympic Committees from countries such as Canada, Britain and Italy have decided not to ask for their athletes to be given priority for vaccinations.      

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: Canadian archers receive an exemption to train in lockdown ahead of Tokyo Olympic qualifiers

Canadian archers aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games took part in a five-day training camp during a lockdown. Tough restrictions are in place across Canada as the country battles to curb surging coronavirus cases, hampering athletes’ preparations for the rescheduled Games.

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But Archery Canada said it received an exemption from the Government of Ontario to enable the team to hold a camp in the Cambridge and Kitchener area at the end of January. Thirteen athletes and four support staff attended the camp which was held under strict health and safety protocols.

According to Archery Canada, the process included a “lengthy pre-camp routine” involving two separate COVID-19 tests in the space of four days ahead of the event.

“We are grateful for the privilege of being able to prepare for the Olympics while in lockdown,” said Alan Brahms, high-performance advisor for Archery Canada.

This was made possible by establishing sophisticated hygiene and safety protocols and a close-knit testing and monitoring system. The support of many different parties and partners, including the financial support of the Government of Canada, and the support of the public health authority, the City of Cambridge, the Region of Waterloo, the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, the YMCA, the ComDev training facility, and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario was tremendous.”

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Crispin Duenas remains the only Canadian archer to have booked his place at the Olympics in the men’s individual recurve after winning gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. Canada’s women’s recurve team are currently preparing for the Olympic qualification tournament, scheduled to be held in Mexico from March 21 to 29.

“Under the conditions, this was anything but a normal training camp for our group,” said Shawn Riggs, Canada’s recurve coach.

I am glad to see how everyone executed our protocols and demonstrated collective accountability to keep our environment protected. We must prepare ourselves as best as possible for the year ahead and this was a key component of that preparation and we learned a lot.

“From a competitive point of view, we saw some strong results and had four men over 670 and six men over 660, which is something we have not seen.

It is an indicator that we are building a broader group in the men’s team, which can be competitive at the world level. Although our arrow average in match and team round play was not quite where it needed to be, it was a good assessment of where our men’s team is positioned coming out of a month’s long environment that saw restricted training opportunities.

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Virginie Chenier, who was one of four women to take part in the camp, said she benefitted from the event after coming through quarantine. While Mariessa (Pinto) and myself had to manage through intra-provincial travel and an additional four-day quarantine in the hotel before the start, this was a great opportunity for the four women to come together to compete and also just to train with a larger group, said Chenier.

Everybody has been missing this, and once everybody received their second test result, we were able to somewhat get back to normal over five days of quality training and competing. Canada Archery is set to stage a men’s selection camp this month and in March before the Archery World Cup is scheduled to start in Guatemala in April.

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Olympic Tickets: IWF finally confirms Romania faces an outright ban from Tokyo Olympic weightlifting

The prospect of Romania being banned outright from weightlifting at Tokyo 2020 has moved a step nearer after two anti-doping rule violations at the London 2012 Olympic Games were formally closed by the International Testing Agency (ITA).

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The news means that Romania’s fate is now in the hands of an independent panel which has already banned three nations outright from this year’s re-arranged Olympic Games – Thailand, Egypt and Malaysia. Colombia and Vietnam, both of which have had three doping positives within the Olympic qualifying period, are also liable to suspension, though Colombia is appealing in the case of three athletes who say they ingested boldenone through tainted meat.

Russia and Iraq could also find themselves in trouble for multiple violations. Romania was already limited to sending only one male and one female athlete to Tokyo Olympic because of its doping record since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.  Its top male lifter in the rankings, Nicolae Onica, was provisionally suspended last September after testing positive for anabolic steroids. After that suspension, no Romanian male was likely to make it through qualifying to Tokyo Olympic. 

But if the ban is confirmed as expected, Romania will lose a genuine medal chance in the women’s events. Loredana Toma, the European champion, stands fourth in the 64-kilogram rankings and her 249kg total early last year in Rome is the third-highest by any athlete in that class. In her absence, Maude Charron of Canada and Mattie Sasser of the United States could come into the reckoning.

Toma tested positive for stanozolol in her youth and served a two-year ban from 2014 when she was 19. Romania’s entire team of four at London 2012 came up positive for stanozolol in the retesting of stored samples conducted by the IOC. Florin Croitoru, ninth in the men’s 56kg, was first to be disqualified by the IOC, in May 2019.

Ten weeks ago, three more were disqualified, two of them medalists, by the IOC – Roxana Cocos. Who forfeited her silver medal in the women’s 69kg, Razvan Martin. Who lost a bronze in the men’s 69kg, and Gabriel Sincraian. Who failed to post a total in the men’s 85kg. Sinclair was also disqualified at Rio 2016 and forfeited a bronze medal. Many within the sport believe that the IWF could have suspended Romania already under its Tbilisi Decision. Taken in 2016, which ruled that any nation with three or more. Positives in the IOC retests should be banned for a year.

Nine nations served such a suspension in 2017 before any of Romania’s team came up positive. When the IOC closed the remaining three of Romania’s London 2012 cases in late November. The IWF made no statement about whether the Tbilisi Decision would apply.

Christian Baumgartner, the former President of the German Weightlifting Federation, is still nominally. The chair of the IWF’s Tbilisi Commission, on which the IWF Interim President Mike Irani also sits, or Sat.

Even in the latest statement by the IWF, there was no mention of it. Or of the fact that Romania had “three or more” positives in IOC retests. Instead, it referred to Romania having had four athletes guilty of doping within 12 months. Another offence that is punishable by suspension.

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The two cases closed by the ITA. Which is now responsible for all the IWF’s anti-doping procedures, are Martin and Sincraian. Martin’s suspension listed on the IWF website runs from 2025 to 2027. Which suggests he may have committed another doping violation in the meanwhile, though none is listed.

Irani said, “It is deeply regrettable to see further anti-doping rule violations within weightlifting. But catching cheats is also clear proof that our efforts to protect clean athletes are having an impact.”

The Independent Member Federations Sanctioning Panel will now be asked to proceed. With the case of the RWF, said the IWF statement. The total number of weightlifting positives in the IOC retests from Beijing 2008 and London 2012 is 61.

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Olympic 2020 Tickets: World Taekwondo toasts Para Taekwondo Day ahead of Tokyo Olympic debut

Para-taekwondo will be like nothing that has ever previously been seen at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. That’s the view of Olof Hansson, director of Para-taekwondo, as the sport celebrates Para-Taekwondo Day today.

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Today also marks the sixth anniversary since taekwondo was added to the Paralympic programmed for the first time. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced Para-taekwondo would become the Paralympic Games’ first full-contact sport at a Governing Board meeting on January 31 in 2015. It was a historic moment for the sport which was created just 15 years ago and now stands on the brink of making its Paralympic debut.

It’s extremely exciting, Hansson told. It’s the biggest event that has ever happened to Para-taekwondo. Now we are just hoping to make a good showing and I am certain we will do because I believe this is a sport that is like nothing that has ever previously been seen on the Paralympic Games program.

It will play a major factor in the growth of Para-taekwondo in the coming years and we will see a lot more interest from National Paralympic Committees. The sport was already big before the inclusion in the Paralympic Games, but I believe that thanks to the work of our committees this has been further increased.

Para-taekwondo was poised to make its first appearance at a Paralympics last year only for Tokyo Olympic to be postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Hansson praised the response of World Taekwondo.

This is a project that I have been working on for quite a long time so it did take a few days to let it sink in that the Games weren’t happening in 2020, supposed Hansson. But that very quickly went away once we had contact from the IPC and started to find out more information.

Of course, it was a big hit to any sports organization involved in the Paralympic and Olympic 2020 Games. You are set for an event to happen at a certain date and it gets delayed by a year. But World Taekwondo has a very good leadership that has been able to restart and refocus the organization.

We have two wonderful committees connected to Para-taekwondo in the Para-Taekwondo Committee and the Classification Committee. They have been working very hard during 2020 to develop education programmers, to review rules and put us in the best possible position for the upcoming Games and the next Paralympic cycle.

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The 2019 Para-Taekwondo World Championships nearly doubled in size from the event in 2017 and World Taekwondo expect that trend to continue at the ninth edition in Wuxi in China later this year.

World Taekwondo said fighters including Denmark’s Lisa Guessing and Britain’s Amy Truesdale had lined up lucrative endorsements, while world champions Viki Marchuk of Ukraine and Juan Diego Garcia Lopez of Mexico had won their country’s highest sporting awards. Last April also saw World Taekwondo launching its Kicking It at Home social media campaign which saw more than 725,000 people watch over 2,000 hours of Para athletes training at home.

“Throughout the whole COVID-19 period we have noticed that athletes have continued to post their training videos and stay active on social media,” added Hansson.

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