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Paralympics: Taekwondo among sports for Tokyo 2020 Games

_76006090_amy_truesdale_peterjohnson2The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will feature 22 sports, with taekwondo included for the first time.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) confirmed its final line-up after a board meeting on Saturday.

Sailing and seven-a-side football for athletes with cerebral palsy miss out while Para-cycling was included despite “serious reservations”.

Sixteen sports – including badminton, which will also be making its debut –had already been ratified in October.

That left Para-canoe, Para-cycling, five-a-side and seven-a-side football, judo, Para-taekwondo, sailing and wheelchair fencing competing for the final places.

It means the 22 sports at the 2020 Paralympic Games will be: athletics, archery, badminton, boccia, canoe, cycling, equestrian, five-a-side football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

The London 2012 schedule featured 4,302 athletes and 20 sports while canoe and triathlon will make their Games debut in Rio in 2016.

World Taekwondo Federation president Chungwon Choue said the body was “delighted and humbled” by the sport’s inclusion.

Britain’s leading Para-taekwondo fighter Amy Truesdale, who is world and European champion in her category, told BBC Sport she hopes her class, for athletes with arm impairments, will be included in the 2020 medal programme.

“To have the chance to hopefully fight at the Games is a dream come true. I also think it opens the door to more people starting out in the sport,” she said.

“I will now have to wait and see what might be planned for me and hopefully it could change my life completely.”

Sir Philip Craven, IPC president, said the “most extensive and rigorous review process ever of all the sports” had led to the decision.

He added: “All were assessed against the same criteria and our aim all along has been to ensure that the final Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports programme is fresh and features the best Para-sports possible.”

Para-cycling faced losing out after cycling’s governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) missed the original deadline to submit its application for inclusion.

However Sir Philip said the IPC’s main concern around the sport was the lack of “high-performance track cyclists and the number of opportunities for them to compete at an international level”.

“Although the IPC governing board approved the inclusion of cycling, it did express serious reservations regarding the sustainability of the track cycling discipline,” he added.

He has urged the UCI to do more before the decision on how many medals will be open to each sport is made in 2017.

Great Britain topped the Para-cycling medal table at Beijing in 2008 and London 2012.

The British sailing team said they were disappointed with the news but that they would be doing all they could to get their teams on the podium at the Rio Paralympics.

BBC Sport