Taekwondo: Gorilla Open put on WTF calendar


Head coach Irene Bagire.

Gorilla International Taekwondo Open has been officially recognised by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) which added it on the calendar of annual international competitions.

Rwanda Gorilla Open becomes Africa’s second (after Egypt Open) taekwondo championship to earn international recognition from the world taekwondo governing body and the first in the sub-Saharan Africa.

The 4th Annual Gorilla International Open is set for March 31 through April 2 at Amahoro indoor stadium and will be taking place simultaneously with the 2nd Africa Para-Taekwondo Open. Both international competitions are expected to attract around 600 players from over 30 countries.

“Making it on the calendar of WTF international competitions give Gorilla Open more credibility, countries are interested in being part of it than never before. The number of participating countries might grow up to 40, all continents represented.” Regis Iyumva, the head of competitions in Rwanda Taekwondo Federation told this paper in a recent interview.

“Competitors will be looking to improve their rankings in WTF, which is one of the key criteria in qualifying for Olympic and Paralympic Games.” Iyumva added.

At the 3-day long tournament, Rwanda will be represented by three teams namely; junior and senior teams in male category and female squad respectively. The Gorilla International open will be contested by physically disabled fighters and hosts Rwanda will be making their debut in the competition.

According to RTF officials, 36 Rwandan martial artists will take part in Gorilla Open while 30 will represent the country in the Para-Taekwondo Open. The teams have started non-residential training under the tutelage of head coach Irene Bagire.