South Korean athletes demonstrate their poomsae skills. © Yonhap News

Games News

Asian Games provides poomsae platform for taekwondo

Date : 09 Aug 2018

Jincheon, Korea, August 9, 2018: When people think of taekwondo, most will imagine two athletes going head-to-head trading kicks and punches, reports Yonhap News.

However, sparring, or "kyorugi" in Korean, is not the only way that the Korean-born martial art is contested. There's also poomsae, in which practitioners demonstrate the attacking or defence moves of taekwondo.

At the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this month, taekwondo poomsae will make its debut as a medal sport. Four gold medals are up for grabs, and South Koreans hope they can win all of them.

"I think we can win all four if our athletes avoid making mistakes," said Kwak Taek-yong, coach of the South Korean poomsae team. "This is a good opportunity for us to show the power of the sport's birthplace."

Kwak said the Asian Games were also an excellent stage to show the appeal of taekwondo poomsae when compared to karate kata (forms).

"At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, karate kata, which is like taekwondo poomsae, is contested as an official sport," he said. "People can check out taekwondo poomsae's style and characteristics through these Asian Games. They'll find it interesting."

For this year's Asian Games, athletes will have to perform three different styles of poomsae. While there are traditional and basic styles of recognised poomsae, people will pay more attention to "new poomsae," which involves higher-level techniques, and freestyle poomsae, in which practitioners perform with background music like in figure skating.

"The contestants will be judged by various criteria, but they'll first have to jump higher, execute moves cleanly and make a safe landing," Kwak said. "Our athletes are strong in any of the three poomsae styles, and they just have to perform like they did in the training."

Article by Joo Kyung-don, Yonhap News

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