By Lauren Mattera at Santa Cruz in Aruba

Lauren MatteraTaekwondo has now established itself as a sport which embraces everyone regardless of disability, gender or race, and through this progression, Para-Taekwondo has evolved to the point where those with the physical ability and confidence to overpower their difficulties can do, and it has aspired to become a sport made up of many inspirational values and ideals.

Since 2006, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Paralympic Committee and its President Tae Eun Lee of Canada have worked hard at enhancing three main aspects of Para-Taekwondo – participation, marketing and member federations involvement.

They have aimed at creating a definition to ensure the correct amount of guidance was received in order for athletes to succeed and to ensure entry into the Paralympic Games.

Para-Taekwondo incorporates many of the same components as Olympic-style taekwondo. Athletes with either leg or hand amputation, either with both limbs above elbows (A5), amputation of one limb above the elbow (A6), amputation of both limbs below the elbows (A7), and amputation of one limb below the elbow (A8) compete in different weight categories modified to the disability.

The same Daedo Protector and Scoring System (PSS) and an instant video replay system, which made its introduction at London 2012, along with 17 international referees, are used. What differs is attacks to the head are banned and the duration of the three rounds is one minute each with a one-minute break between rounds.

"The hope that taekwondo brings is limitless," said Chungwon Choue, President of the WTF, said during the Opening Ceremony of the third World Para-Taekwondo Championships here. "It knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability.

"There is no gender that it favours or age that it discriminates against. Taekwondo truly is a sport for all that inspires and embodies anyone that experiences it. I know from these athletes here today, there is still much more to come."

2nd WTF World Para-Taekwondo ChampionshipsWeight categories are modified to the disability at the WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships

Choue concluded by saying: "The London 2012 Olympic Games was the greatest competition of our history. Rio 2016 will be even greater, but I say to you athletes here in Aruba, your road to the Olympics, and hopefully soon the Paralympics, begins here today.

"Faster, higher, stronger. Fairer, more dynamic, spreading hope and dreams to the world. This is taekwondo! You are taekwondo!"

Para-Taekwondo first established its own World Championships back in 2009, when the WTF staged the first event in Baku, Azerbaijan, and it celebrated itself as the first disabled taekwondo competition at global level to ever take place.

The competition witnessed the best 36 male and female Para-Taekwondo athletes from 18 worldwide countries..

Kamaladdin Heydarov, a leading Azerbaijan politician and vice-president of the WTF proudly opened the milestone event by saying: "I have certain belief that, best male and female Para-Taekwondo athletes of the world will demonstrate high performance, Olympic spirit and fair play for the progress of our beloved sport.

"Also we feel pride that, by ceaseless support of all of you our city will go down in taekwondo history as organiser of the first WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships. We hope all participants of the first World Para-Taekwondo Championships will realise their life long desire to become excellent taekwondo players in Baku."

The event's huge success led to the WTF staging their second World Championships in St Petersburg, Russia, in 2010 confirming a growing popularity after receiving 65 athlete entries from 21 countries.

2nd WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships winnersThe second WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships received the highest  amount of participating countries yet

Choue described the competition back in 2010 as something which "began as a trial and became a historic event, where athletes displayed the philosophy and spirit of taekwondo in ways that had never been achieved before."

And now here we are at this year's third WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships, where entrants from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Spain, Russia, France and hosts Aruba joined as seeded contestants, along with Mongolia, Nepal, Croatia, Iran, Finland, United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Guatemala, an impressive 36 men and nine women, from 14 countries of four continents showcasing their Paralympic potential at the Centro Deportivo in Aruba.

Of those competing was one of Great Britain's most inspiring athletes, 23-year-old Amy Truesdale of Chester. Truesdale won a silver medal after losing in the final to reigning world champion, Lisa Standeven of Canada, and so was able to add that to her bronze medal claimed in 2009 and silver medal collected in 2010.

Truesdale, who was born with the lower part of her arm missing, first started taekwondo when she was just eight, because her father thought it would be a good idea in this current day for a girl to learn self defence. Her journey through the sport has included training and competing with able-bodied athletes, which aided her quest for a bronze medal in the British National Championships this year.

Among the athletes from the 14 countries who competed in the tournament, Truesdale was the only athlete to represent Great Britain.

"Para-Taekwondo back home just doesn't get the coverage," she told insidethegames.

"Great Britain could have a great Para-Taekwondo team, including ex-soldiers who have lost limbs in the line of duty, they would be so fit and perfect for taekwondo. But it just doesn't have the coverage at the moment.

"There are more athletes competing here in Aruba which is really good but at the same time there are quite low numbers of women which is quite disappointing. Maybe that's because it is a martial art and there are a smaller percentage of able bodied women taking part in it already, I'm not sure. But I think the main reason is lack of publicity."

Amy Truesdale vs Lisa StandevenAmy Truesdale lost 14-4 in the final of the third WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships to Canada's Lisa Standeven

Truesdale, who travels to Stoke-on-Trent to train up to seven days a week with coach Peter Johnson, explained to insidethegames how the sport had changed her life.

"It is about so much more than competing and sparring – it's about discipline," she said.

"It would be amazing if Para-Taekwondo could be in the 2020 Paralympics. We would be such role models for younger children who maybe have a similar disability to us and lack confidence and this would encourage younger children to participate.

"It's a great martial art to take up and a great spectator sport.

"The Great Britain taekwondo team have just had a fantastic Olympic Games, they proved that the sport is very interesting to watch, well organised, and I believe it deserves to be in the Paralympics.

"Para-Taekwondo has made me realise that there are people out there who are more disabled than me, going out there with maybe no arms and having the strength and determination to spar greatly and win World Championships."

As a requirement of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the WTF assisted in administering two World Para-Taekwondo Championships. And although in 2010 Para-Taekwondo lost out to canoe and triathlon for the inclusion into the Rio 2016 Paralympics, as the momentum of the sport grows stronger, along with recently staging a third successful World Championships, the WTF are optimistic of securing themselves a spot in the 2020 Paralympics, which is due to take part in Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo.

WTF President Choue and Lauren MatteraLauren Mattera interviews WTF President Choue in the Centro Deportivo in Aruba

"When I see the Para-Taekwondo athletes compete, it is very touching," WTF President Choue told insidethegames. "If we were to be granted entry into the Paralympics, all my dreams will have come true."

The fourth WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships will be held in Dakar, Senegal next year.

Para-Taekwondo faces competition from badmintion, powerchair football and golf and a decision is set to be made in 2014.

Jean-Marie Ayer, the WTF's secretary general told insidethegames: "We are here in Aruba to show the sport of Para-Taekwondo to the world and furthermore to develop all aspects of it.

"We have already learnt so much since first launching the world Championships, now we feel we are ready to take it to the next level."

Lauren Mattera is a reporter for insidethegames