Is Taekwondo and Taekwondo Competition improving with electronic scoring systems?  Will it improve the game for the competitors and the spectators alike?  What will it mean for the Olympics?

Hmm… these are some very interesting and thought provoking questions!

Electronic scoring has been a WTF priority ever since the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and maybe before.

It really came to ahead when Rashad Ahmadov from Azerbaijan sat in protest at the scoring decision he received against Bahri Tanrikulu from Turkey in the Male -80 contest in the Athens Olympics.

Ahmadov insisted he scored more points than he was awarded by the referees, and should have won the contest.  Bahri Tanrikulu went on to win Silver in Athens, and I’m sure Ahmadov thought that it could have been his medal, and that he would have returned to Azerbaijan to a hero’s welcome, instead of Tanrikulu.

Despite the WTF’s best efforts to get Ahmadov off the mat to continue the Olympics, it took far longer than they would have liked and the whole schedule was delayed.  With the IOC eagerly looking at the contest, it didn’t go down to well with them.

So ever since then, the WTF have been looking to bring in electronic scoring into the Olympics, and World Championships, to level the playing field for everyone, and remove any human error that may arise in high profile Taekwondo Tournaments.

But is it good for the sport?

That’s a very tough one to answer…

On one side it’s reduced human error, but has increased electronic error.  And some would say that it hasn’t reduced human error at all, only changed it.

To answer the question if it’s improved Taekwondo, I would say it hasn’t affected it.

Now, I’m not talking about Taekwondo as a sport at high level, I’m talking about Taekwondo at grass roots level in Taekwondo schools all over the world.  They’re not really affected by Electronic Scoring.  Changes in the points awarded for different kicks will affect them, as their strategies will change when sparring and competing.  But the majority of club players and athletes won’t be affected by Electronics until they get the National and International level.

Will Electronics improve the game for competitors and spectators..?

To be honest, I don’t think so…

With the current systems that are out there, it’s changed the game too much from the great matches we used to have just a few years ago.

I hear so many people say how bored they are watching Taekwondo now – and these are people who live and breathe Taekwondo.   Taekwondo is their life and they’re bored!

The strategies and tactics are one dimensional and the spectator isn’t left in awe at the sights of athletes fighting almost like combative gymnasts in the ring and totally different styles and strategies being pitted against each other to win.

Now the strategies are pretty much the same as the route to get points is pretty narrow.

What will it mean for the Olympics?

Well, it can mean that the results are “fairer”. Removing the human element, or reducing it as much as possible, is something that “can” level the playing field.  I say “can” because it requires the electronic system to work properly for both athletes.

And we all know this doesn’t always happen!

Electronics has definitely leveled the playing field in the World Championships.  Athletes, relatively unknown before, came from nowhere to beat established players and win Gold at the Worlds using Electronic Scoring.  The game suited them better than the established players.

But would a change in the rules or the electronic system used mean they would no longer win?  Who knows, it would depend on the changes I guess.

So we will have to wait and see what happens in London in August 2012.  As well as millions all over the world and 9000 people a day in the stadium, the International Olympic Committee and the World Taekwondo Federation will be looking keenly to make sure everything goes as it should.

I’ll be one of those 9000 people watching all the matches in the stadium.  Hopefully it’ll be exciting!

Let me know your thoughts on whether electronic scoring has been good for Taekwondo and Taekwondo Competition on the comments below and if you’ve used it, what you thought :)

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