Making Filipino Taekwondo Athletes Internationally Competitive: An International Comparison of Anthropometric and Physiologic Characteristics

J. Dizon, K. Grimmer-Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: A relatively recent focus has been on competitive combat sports because of their audience appeal, and the complex physical and mental challenges they offer to athletes. One of the prominent international combat sports is taekwondo. There are approximately 120 nations who are members of the World Taekwondo Federation. In the Philippines, taekwondo has been an increasingly popular and growing recreational and competitive sport.

Objectives: This paper reports on research, which had the objectives of:
Establishing the first anthropometric and physiologic profile of elite Filipino taekwondo athletes.

Comparing the elite Filipino athletes’ performance characteristics with published information on other elite athletes.

Making recommendations for training in the Philippines based on these comparisons.

Methods: Studies on international elite taekwondo athletes were identified using a systematic search of the literature. Means and standard deviations of outcomes available for comparison were extracted from each study. Anthropometric measures of height, weight and body fat were obtained from the elite Filipino taekwondo athletes as well as physiologic measures of speed, agility, arm and leg power, muscular endurance and aerobic power. The results of these tests were compared with the data obtained from the identified international studies.

Results: A total of four studies were obtained for comparison. Twenty (10 males and 10 females) Filipino athletes were assessed for anthropometric measures and physiologic performance. Of note was that the male Filipino athletes were significantly shorter than the other athletes, while female Filipino athletes had slightly higher body fat level (although non-significant) in comparison with other athletes. The Filipino athletes (males and females) were significantly stronger than their counterparts in terms of leg power which gives them an advantage as the sport is characterized by bursts of sudden kicks. The female Filipino athletes however, scored poorer than the other competitors in terms of flexibility and aerobic power.

Conclusion: The elite Filipino taekwondo athletes were similar to other international elite athletes in most physical and some of the physiologic characteristics. As taekwondo is a sport that is characterized by bursts of explosive kicks, Filipino athletes should take advantage of the fact that they performed well in the leg power tests. The findings presented in this paper should be considered so that a greater scientific approach can be taken when designing athlete-specific, as well as team-specific training programs. Training programs that address the current physiological shortfalls should lead to improvements in national and international competition results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e131-e132
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue numberSuppl. 2
Early online date26 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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