Elliott (Lefty) Loonstra representing Aruba and making history at the 2021 9th World Para Taekwondo Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

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The Para Taekwondo World Championship was held in Istanbul, Turkey with the participation of 250 athletes from 41 nations, where Elliott Loonstra once again made history in the world as well as for Aruba in this important competition, obtaining 5th place out of 29 competitors.

 

After the 2020 +1 Tokyo Paralympic Games, the competition rules were updated unifying 3 sports-classes in one, in addition to the change of weights from 3 to 5 for each gender. These changes were also approved for the next 2024 Paris Paralympic Games. These new changes increases the quota to 120 athletes from 72 as it was at the successful 2020 +1 Tokyo Paralympic Games, where Taekwondo debuted as the second combat sport and Elliott was the only athlete to represent Aruba.

 

The competition day for Elliott Loonstra was on December 12, 2021, Men Sport Class K44 -80 Kg, in which there were 29 athletes from 16 nations competing for the podium.

 

The first match was with Hancik Kristijan from Serbia in round of 32. Elliott managed to dominate the match winning 4 to 0 going to the next round of 16 where he was up against he representative of Uzbekistan Asadbek Toshtemirov, an athlete with experience in an exciting match until the last 30 seconds of the total 5 minutes of the match, where Aruba trailed by one point, but Elliott Loonstra was able to improve the score by finishing with a tight 9-7 result in Loonstra’s favor, thus catapulting him to the quarter-finals, very close to the dreamed world podium.

 

Being in the quarterfinals he met the Russian Magomedzagir Isaldibirov 3 (third) in the world and 5th in the last 2020 +1 Tokyo Paralympic Games, who by ranking did not need to fight in the elimination round going directly to round 16. In other words, he had more rest having one less fight than Elliott in the competition. The very experienced Russian para athlete, in competition since 2017 with very good technique and strong, presented himself as a serious opponent. In the first minutes of the fight it was very equal, since the proposed strategy gave results canceling the turning techniques of Magomedzagir. Already at halftime and after a clash between Elliott and the Russian, it was noticeable that the latter was in pain in one knee giving hope to Aruba in going to the semifinals with a guaranteed medal, but after a time-out requested by the Russian coach, Isaldibirov recovered and began to increase a difference on the scoreboard. With 30 seconds remaining in the fight, Elliott Loonstra went in with all his energy and courage with a flurry of techniques that in the end were not enough to beat the Russian. The fight ended at 19-8. At the end of the day the Russian Magomedzagir Isaldibirov became the world champion proving that he is a formidable athlete.

 

The 2021 9th World Para Taekwondo Championship was Elliott (Lefty) Loonstra’s second appearance, his first one being in 2019 and ranking 17th. It is an incredible improvement in the 2021 edition, ranking 5th out of 29 athletes and Aruba ranking 18th out of 41 countries in the team standings table.

The Aruba Paralympic Committee congratulates Elliott Loonstra and his coach Luciano Mazzeo for this excellent result in their first event on the way to the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games. A profound thank you to the Loonstra Family, especially Jean and Andre for their unconditional support as well as to the people of Aruba for the constant support to our Para Taekwondo and Paralympic Athlete.