Tokyo 2020’s test events aren’t just about checking the venues are ready; they’re also a forum for sports federations and organisers to experiment with innovations. Among the most interesting is the one being trialled in taekwondo.
The martial art has introduced a series of brand-new, high-tech uniforms that allow for the attachment of arm and shin guards. If approved, plans are in place to use them at the Olympic Games for the first time next summer.
At the Ready Steady Tokyo Taekwondo event, athletes competed in the men’s -58kg and women’s -49kg categories wearing the new suits.
The event was held at the Makuhari Messe Hall, with 16 men and 16 women taking part in a straight knockout in the two weight divisions.
Jorge Hernandez of Mexico beat Ryuta Matsui of Japan 21-20 in the men’s final, with pre-tournament favourite and world champion Paulo Melo of Brazil having to settle for bronze along with local favourite Korai Murakami of Japan.
World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue declared himself content with the test.
“Today’s test event only heightens our excitement for Tokyo 2020,” he said. “We trialled the new taekwondo uniforms for fight competition, which maintain our tradition of white taekwondo uniform, but also use new technologies to make them better for athletes and fans.”
An Extraordinary Council Meeting of World Taekwondo in December in Moscow will decide if the new suits are to be slipped on at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The Makuhari Messe Hall, meanwhile, proved the perfect venue. An international convention complex famous for its tech events and major gigs, it will also host fencing and wrestling at the Games next summer.