Aruba secures Olympic taekwondo qualification for first time
Aguascalientes, Mexico (March 12, 2016) – : A total of 16 athletes from 11 countries secured a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this week during the Pan Am Qualification Tournament which was one of the most tightly contested tournaments of the year reflecting the strength of taekwondo in the Pan American region.
The Qualification Tournament took place on March 10-11 at the state of the Gimnasio Olimpico IDEA in Aguascalientes, Mexico and attracted 85 elite athletes from 26 countries. The USA and Dominican Republic each won three qualification places at the tournament and Colombia secured two places while eight other countries returned home with one qualification place each. Among the list of qualified countries was Aruba which secured Olympic qualification in taekwondo for the very first time.
There are now 55 countries that have qualified for Rio 2016.
The full list of athletes that obtained Olympic berths for their countries at the Pan American Qualification Tournament are:
|F-49kg||1||DIEZ CANSECO VERDE, LIZBETH||PER|
|2||PIMENTEL – RODRIGUEZ, MONICA||ARU|
|F-67kg||1||MC PHERSON, PAIGE||USA|
|M+80kg||1||ALBA CASTILLO, YUNIER RAFAEL||CUB|
WTF President Chungwon Choue said:“The Pan-American Qualification Tournament was a wonderful event and really reminded us all just how competitive taekwondo is in the Americas. With eleven countries securing Olympic qualification, including Aruba for the first time in their history, we can be proud of the work we have done in developing the sport in the region but we know there is still room for further growth.
“Taekwondo is truly a sport for all and is practised by millions of people globally. There are already 55 countries that have secured Olympic qualification for Rio 2016 and there will be many more after the Asian Qualification Tournament next month. I have no doubt that the millions of taekwondo fans around the world can expect a thrilling and truly global Olympic competition in Rio.”
The Pan Am Qualification Tournament was the penultimate Qualification Tournament to take place before this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. A total of 128 taekwondo athletes will compete in Rio, with 108 having already qualified. 48 elite fighters won quota places for Rio 2016 at the end of last year via ranking points accrued in WTF tournaments, most notably in the World Championships and Grand Prix series, 56 have qualified via the four Continental Qualification Tournaments and Olympic hosts Brazil were automatically granted four places. The Asian Continental Qualification Tournament, which will take place in Manila, Philippines on April 16-17, will offer 16 qualification places and the final four places will then be allocated as wild cards.