The city of Foz de Iguazú in Brazil witnessed a long-awaited moment: the return of face-to-face tournaments in Central and South America. The 8th Central and South American Championship took place from August 10 to 13, 2022. An outstanding organization of GM Raúl Sánchez, president of the Brazilian Taekwon-Do Federation, allowed more than 540 competitors from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and Paraguay to be protagonists of this reunion.
The organization had the support of the Central and South American Federation (FCST) and its president Master Abelardo Benzaquén who acted as head of umpires, too. The support of Master Federico Kaenel and SBN Manuel Larrea proved vital, who displayed all their organizational experience. Dr. Rossel and SBN Gutiérrez worked as the IT team that is showed an example for all future tournaments.
The guests of honor started with GM Paul Weiler, ITF president, and GM Héctor Marano, chairman of the ITF technical committee. The list continues with three South American ITF grandmasters of a long and distinguished career, namely GM Armando Villegas, GM Carlos Lorefice, and GM Omar Merodio, as well as the Argentinian coach of the championships teams in the last ITF World Championships in Inzell 2019, Master Luis Gadea. The opening ceremony was also attended by Antonio Sapia, Secretary of Sports of Foz de Iguazú, to provide government support and complete the institutional framework that an international event of this hierarchy deserves.
The Central and South American Championships were a balanced tournament where all countries had the opportunity to get on the podium. The first day of the competition was dedicated to the color belts in sparring and pattern. The second day had the individual black belts competitions and the third day was reserved for team competitions of patterns, sparring, and pre-arranged sparring.
One of the great innovations was the implementation of the new rules, where the pattern competitors execute a pattern by drawing alone. Master Benzaquen, head of umpires at this event commented this rule with the words: “This means that the judges can dedicate 100% of their attention to each competitor, thus achieving fairer rulings.” And the response by the umpires was very positive.
At the end of the second day, the FCST congress was held where all the grandmasters were present and ideas for operational improvements of the Federation were shared. Additionally, the legal papers of Bolivia were presented by his president, SBN Chavez Mazzi, in what means a new step in the institutionalization of the members of the FCST. At the end of the congress, Argentina was confirmed as the organizing country of the next Central and South American tournament 2023 and the invitation was opened for the presentation of candidacies for the 2024 and 2025 tournaments.
The outstanding work of the more than 40 umpires contributed to an outstanding event. As a thank you offered GM Sánchez a special dinner that was also attended by the ITF president and all the grandmasters. There he had the opportunity to present various souvenirs in recognition of the trajectory and work of a great team. A great international event to celebrate the return to the presence in Latin America. A continent that continues to grow and work for a more united ITF.