Australian athletes, vexed by WTF ranking points distribution
Australia’s taekwondo body is seeking clarification from the sport’s world administrators over the allocation of rankings points some athletes say has impeded their ability to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Sports Taekwondo Australia (STA) said it was following up a perceived inconsistency surrounding the number of points members of the Australian team were awarded for their part in both the 2014 Oceania Championships and 2015 Pacific Games.
The issue is understood to be in relation to a World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) rule change regarding the minimum number of athletes required to contest each weight class in a competition.
Frustrated athletes say they were not given the full quota they deserved, and that it has in turn thwarted their capacity to qualify for higher-ranking competitions including some World Grand Prix events.
Participation in these events is important to earning a spot in the World Grand Prix final, held earlier this month in Mexico and after which the WTF published their Olympic rankings.
The top six in each weight category earned automatic Rio qualification.
No Australians made this year’s World Grand Prix final.
London 2012 Olympian Safwan Khalil is the best-placed on the Olympic rankings, coming in at 10th in his less than 58kg division.
“STA and the AOC are currently in correspondence with the World Taekwondo Federation to try and resolve this issue,” STA chief executive Joelie Chisholm told AAP.
“The WTF has been somewhat inconsistent in their application of one of their competition rules with regards to rankings, and we’re just in correspondence with them to try and understand that.
“We’re still working through it with them.”
A spokesman for the AOC said the organisation was helping STA to follow up an “administrative mix-up”, but believed there was nothing sinister involved.
STA can select only two males and two females to compete in February’s Oceania qualification tournament, Australia’s last Rio qualification pathway.
Potential selections include Khalil, his wife and fellow London Olympian Carmen Marton, who is also Australia’s first taekwondo world champion, and her older sister Caroline Marton.
The trio and most other athletes are back in Australia after spending time overseas this year training and competing.
Chisholm said there was a chance the Egyptian taekwondo team may visit Canberra in January to train with the Aussie team at the AIS Combat Centre.