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Zagreb was the stage for the first ‘mass’ event in the European region during pandemic times. TKD Karlovac and TKD Jastreb, under the leadership of Tamara Pradegan and Miroslav Brezan took the challende to organize this event with their team. Now, one week later, we look back and evaluate the event.

539 athletes, coaches, referees and officials gathered in the city of Zagreb to participate at the 8th European Club Championships. As the event has no global ranking, it was uncertain how many athletes and teams would dare to travel to Zagreb. Other sports, like Judo, already explored the competition in pandemic times and Taekwondo was about to follow. Games Chairman Ali Sagirkaya was the first official on site, welcomed by the OC at the airport. Soon, he was followed by Referee Chair Chakir Chelbat, Technical Director Usman Dildar and the team of Taekwondo Europe led by General Treasurer Antonio Barbarino.

In the meeting, for the first time with the team in real life instead of the now so familiar ZOOM, it became clear that the protocols prepared by the OC and the Ministry of Public Health were well known by the OC and all preparations were done accurately. The main issue would be for the teams and officials to follow strictly the 1.5 meter social distancing and following the rules and regulations. Weigh in was done by appointment to prevent waiting lines, teams were instructed to stay in their rooms and to come down only for breakfast, lunch and dinner and for their fights.

Competition started with Kids and Cadets divisions, followed by Juniors, U21 and Seniors. The first days were hectic because of the number of athletes. The check points only accepted athletes, coaches and officials who could show a negative PCR test result not older than 48 hours. Once the test result expired, a rapid test was needed to pass the checkpoint. Also, the body temperature was checked with a thermometer and registered on the checklist. Once the check point was passed, athletes could prepare themselves in the warming up area and limited number of athletes were managed into the field of play. After the fights, the athlete who lost had to leave the operational areas at once and the winner was allowed to stay and wait for the next fight. Each weigh division was being concluded before the next division was started, in order to keep the number of athletes to a minimum inside the operational areas.

The medical team of the OC under the leadership of Goran Milašin, in cooperation with the Taekwondo Europe Chief Medical Doctor did an amazing job in informing the teams, managing the implementation of the protocols and together with the Technical Officials of Taekwondo Europe, the protocols were followed at all times. During the third competition day, an official inspection visit from officials from the Ministry of Public Health was concluded. All protocols were reviewed, all registration lists were reviewed and the OC was interviewed. As expected, the inspection report concluded that all protocols were followed correctly and the OC received a well-deserved continue decision from the inspectors.

It can be concluded that events in pandemic times can take place. Strictly following the protocols, using common sense and most importantly, keeping distance from each other are the basic recipe for success. Also, a Medical Doctor in charge with profound knowledge of the corona virus is a necessity to take decisions at events in pandemic times. Taekwondo Europe would like to thank the OC and specifically Tamara Pradegan and Miroslav Brezan for their outstanding work and commitment to the success of this event.

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