October 26, 2009 11:44
Taekwondo continues to gain ground as the world's most popular martial art. Last week's World Taekwondo Championships held in Copenhagen, Denmark, proved that the national sport of Korea continues to grow into a global sport.
The final results of the five-day event, held every two years, also showed that Korea's position at the top of the taekwondo world is being met with a number of challengers. China took the lead in the women's overall team ranking, followed by Korea in second place and Spain third. Korea came in first in the men's team final with Iran a distant second, 55 points behind.
American athletes did well individually as Danielle Pelham took home the fourth gold for the U.S. women and Steven Lopez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, finished first in the men's welterweight class.
But on the downside, the 2009 championships received criticism from judges and taekwondo experts who called for improving the judging system. One example was the failure by judges to warn athletes when they went outside the 8 m by 8 m fighting mat. There were also questions raised about gold medal winner Lopez, who critics said wasn't penalized enough for raising his legs during a fight.
However, this year's championships adopted new measures like the "Lajust," an electronic sensor inside the athletes' vests to detect kicks and punches. Video replays proved to be an accurate source for judging as well.
Taekwondo experts expect the status of the martial art to improve over time as important issues are being actively addressed for "the way of the foot and fist," as the name means in Korean.
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