Electronic Scoring

Until the new body pads equipped for electronic scoring are implemented, points in Taekwondo tournaments are going to continue to be scored by judges using hand held controls. Although, there are a number of good points to this (such as seeing what points are scored immediately), I am still left wishing we could go back to judges scoring the matches on paper.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept of electronic scoring is a good one. The problem however is in the implementation. In order to ensure that a point is seen by 3 out of 4 judges, the judges must all click the same button for the scoring athlete within a fraction of a second of each other. If they don’t, the kick is not scored and obvious points are not recorded.

During the Olympics, I was approached by a number of people both in Taekwondo and not, who were mystified by how the points were scored in the matches. In some situations, it could be explained but unfortunately in many situations it could not.

This affected a number of athletes, including Canada’s Ivett Gonda who lost a match where obvious kicks were not scored. This problem culminated in the worst situation possible where a fighter from Cuba, frustrated by the scoring in a match, kicked the referee in the head.

While this was in no way justified and undid a great deal of good work that we all in Taekwondo attempt to do by educating children in the 5 tenets (specifically in this case, Self Control), some responsibility needs to be bourne by the judges, the referee and Taekwondo generally.

Reform is needed to ensure that Taekwondo scoring is apparent not only to competitors and coaches but also to the audience.  Taekwondo rules relating to electronic scoring need to be changed. While the idea of an electronic body pad appeals to me, it remains to be seen how it too will be implemented. Likewise, the rule changes and practices will take a while to filter down through the system.

However, an easy fix may be to change the scoring requirements in matches where there are 4 corner judges so that only 2 need to see the point (and click on it within a second of each other) in order for the kick to count.  Judges would still need to see the kick score as they do now before the point is awarded – we would then have more of the obvious points scored.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Electronic Scoring

  1. I have heard many people from our own school comment on different tournaments where there was an issue with obvious points not being scored. You have a lot of good points and I like your idea about having only 2/4 judges needing to see and score the kick for it to count. Makes sense to me. Keep up your blog, I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. Thanks Alana. A lot of it still comes down to having well trained judges. The Association is planning to have a Referee / Judging Seminar this winter. Hopefully, a lot of people will participate.

    Thanks again for your input. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been reading the blog lately … any thoughts from anyone else?


  3. I agree 100% with Mr Ives . Having well trained judges/ referees is the key for better tournaments for everyone. For example…. at the PEI open there was a kids fight where there was 3 kicks to the head that wasn`t called . As a result the kid who recieved the kicks didn`t want to continue ,so that kid lost. BUT…you have to try & take that as a learning experience,because the benefits of competing at tournaments is an asset. And as for the electronic scoring there`s always room for improvement. Technology isn`t always the best way . I also agree with going back to judges scoring the matches on paper.

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