Elite/Grassroots Division Notification

March 11, 2009, 3:22 p.m. (ET)

USA Taekwondo would like to remind its athletes and coaches that every year there are possible changes in the qualifying process for junior and senior national teams.  One change for this year that needs to be highlighted again is that the winner of the Grassroots division (formerly called the Elite division) at Senior Nationals and Junior Olympics will NOT advance to the World Class division to qualify for national teams.

There are two strong reasons why USAT made this change. The first and foremost is competitive fairness. We wanted to establish a true grassroots division where less-advanced fighters could work on their skills without having to fight against the more advanced fighters who for some reason missed out on attending regional qualifiers. In some instances, experienced fighters were taking advantage of less-experienced fighters causing safety and injury issues. The second reason is that there are ample state and regional tournaments now established in every area of the country including Alaska and Hawaii. This gives all of our athletes multiple avenues for qualification to the World Class division. This largely removes the objection that it was cost prohibitive to attend a qualifier.

Again, the winner of the Grassroots division at nationals does not advance to the World Class division.  If you want to compete in the World Class division at nationals in Austin this summer you will have to qualify at a USAT-sanctioned state tournament or USAT regional qualifier.

Also, athletes who have qualified for the World Class division MAY NOT compete in the Grassroots division.