World Para Taekwondo Championships Set to Kick off in Turkey

By Bill Kellick | Feb. 02, 2019, 11:32 p.m. (ET)

2019 World Para TKD logo

(February 2, 2019) -- Just 19 months before it makes its Paralympic debut in Tokyo, Japan, Para taekwondo is celebrating by holding the biggest tournament in the sport’s history. The 2019 world championships, set for Feb. 5-6 in Antalya, Turkey, will see nearly 400 athletes from 69 nations – nearly twice as many as the last edition – compete for bragging rights and valuable ranking points. Seven new nations are competing for the first time, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Tanzania, and Uganda.Host Turkey leads the way, with 56 athletes registered. 

Ranked as a G-10 tournament, meaning maximum ranking points are up for grabs, the competition will go a long way toward deciding which athletes will qualify for Para taekwondo’s Paralympic debut next year, and which will still have their work cut out for them to qualify. A surprise win could vault an athlete into Paralympic contention. A surprise early exit might mean competing in a nervy, winner-takes-all, last-ditch continental qualification tournament next spring.

The U.S. team roster for athletes and coaches is as follows:

Evan Medell
Brianna Salinaro
Alyssa Fencil
Felix Sabates
Sophie Gimeno
Michael Kacer
Johnny Birch
Daniel Espinosa
Anthony Smith
Corbin Stacey
Nick Malich
Sparring Coaches: Jason Poos and Lynette Love
Eric Wright
Jonathan McNatt
Iris Fuentes
Alyssa Fencil

Poomsae Coach: Johnny Birch