New WTF Headquarters
New address:
4th Fl., Joyang Building
113, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu,
Seoul, Korea 135-090
 
 
WTF President Jacques Rogge Visits WTF Headquarters
SEOUL --- Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, visited the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation to exchange opinions with WTF leaders on bilateral cooperation on April 7, 2006.

On the final day of the SportAccord 2006, which was held on April 3-7, 2006, IOC President Rogge met with Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of WTF and chairman of the Seoul Organizing Committee for the 2006 SportAccord convention, and other WTF leaders.
SportAccord 2006 Wraps up in Great Success
WTF Announces Results of Electronic Protector Evaluation
WTF Attends SPORTELAsia 2006 in Shanghai
WTF President Visits Iran for Int’l Taekwondo Tournament
Interview : WTF President Chungwon Choue
Interview : Adriana Carmona of Venezuela
Interview : Pascal Gentil of France
WTF President Jacques Rogge Visits WTF Headquarters
SEOUL --- Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, visited the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation to exchange opinions with WTF leaders on bilateral cooperation on April 7, 2006.

On the final day of the SportAccord 2006, which was held on April 3-7, 2006, IOC President Rogge met with Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of WTF and chairman of the Seoul Organizing Committee for the 2006 SportAccord convention, and other WTF leaders.

It marked the first visit by Dr. Rogge to the WTF Headquarters since he became the president of the IOC in 2001.

Among the participants in the hour-long meeting were Mr. Ivan Dibos, IOC member of Peru and a member of the WTF Executive Council; Mr. Phillip Coles, IOC member of Australia and ex-officio member of the WTF Executive Council; Mr. Dai-soon Lee, a vice president of WTF and president of the Asian Taekwondo Union; and Mr. Cha-sok Park, a vice president of WTF and president of the Pan American Taekwondo Union. Mr. Coles also serves as president of the newly created Oceania Taekwondo Union.

Prior to the talks, WTF President Choue granted an honorary 10th Dan certificate to Dr. Rogge, along with a black belt and Dobok. Dr. Rogge was the second to be honored with the WTF’s honorary 10th Dan, after Juan Antonio Samaranch, the honorary president of the IOC.

On April 2, Dr. Rogge received an honorary doctorate degree in physical education from Kyung Hee University in Seoul.

“IOC President Rogge expressed his deep interest in WTF’s ongoing reform activities, especially the planned introduction of a new electronic protector system for fairer judgment and refereeing,” WTF President Choue said shortly after the meeting.

Dr. Rogge was also quoted by Dr. Choue as saying, “If WTF continues its ongoing reform without fail, the future of WTF will be very bright and would have no problem being included as an Olympic sport in the program of the 2016 Olympic Games and beyond.”

On March 10, 2005, WTF held its Executive Council meeting in the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland; the first of its kind as an international sports federation. The meeting was made possible with the full support of Dr. Rogge.

In line with the IOC’s ongoing reform policy, WTF has implemented a package of reform programs since February 2005, when the WTF Reform Committee produced a 188-page reform report. The report was approved at the WTF General Assembly in April in Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Rogge arrived in Seoul on March 31 to attend both the SportAccord 2006 and the 15th ANOC General Assembly held at the Grand and COEX InterContinental hotels in southern Seoul.

WTF served as the secretariat of SportAccord 2006, with WTF President Choue working as chairman of the Seoul Organizing Committee for the 2006 SportAccord. WTF took the initiative to win the bid to host the 2006 SportAccord international sports convention at SportAccord 2005 held in Berlin, Germany.

The next SportAccord will be held in Beijing, China in late April 2007.

“Dr. Rogge and so many other IOC members spoke well of the taekwondo performance during the opening ceremony of SportAccord 2006 on April 3,” Dr. Choue said.

Dr. Choue added, “By successfully holding a big international event like SportAccord, we can show the global sports community our ability to host and organize it.”

SportAccord 2006 Wraps Up in Great Success

SEOUL --- SportAccord 2006, a premier international sports convention, wrapped up in a great success after five days of colorful events on April 7, 2006 in Seoul, Korea.

The 2006 SportAccord, which took place at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul, Korea, brought together over 900 influential sports figures from about 60 countries.

The annual event, the fourth of its kind and the first in Asia, has established itself as one of the largest and most important gathering of international sports leaders and decision-makers in the world.

“The Seoul SportAccord was a great success in many aspects and was much better than we had expected. It may be the best Sportaccord ever,” said a SportAccord official shortly after the conclusion of the Seoul event.

In a recent letter to all GAISF members, Ms. Christine Dominguez, director general of GAISF, said, “SportAccord 2006 in Seoul was a great success.” She announced that the next SportAccord would be held in Beijing, China, from April 23 to 27, 2007.

WTF President Chungwon Choue, who also served as chairman of the Seoul Organizing Committee for SportAccord 2006, said, “By successfully organizing SportAccord 2006, WTF showed the global sports community its ability to organize such an international event.”

Among the participants in the Seoul event were sports administrators from about 100 international sports federations affiliated to the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.

The 2006 SportAccord convention was composed of the annual associations’ congress and general assemblies, as well as a conference, workshops, an exhibition and numerous networking opportunities.

“SportAccord is a unique opportunity for you, leaders in the fields of sport and business, to convene together. From Mardrid to Lausanne to Berlin, SportAccord has provided us with the ideal platform to conduct and exchange ideas in the most favorable conditions,” said Dr. Chungwon Choue.

Dr. Choue continued to say, “The hosting of SportAccord 2006 and the ANOC General Assembly in Seoul will be beneficial to the international standing of our cit; at the same time, Seoul will serve as a gateway to Asia for our global partners.”

The General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) started on March 31 at the COEX Grand Ballroom.

Dr. Choue made the remarks in his opening speech during the opening ceremony of SportAccord 2006, which was held at the COEX Convention Center.

During the hour-long opening ceremony, a taekwondo demonstration was conducted, drawing huge applauses from the participants.

The Seoul-based WTF, the world governing body of taekwondo, took the initiative to win the bid to host SportAccord 2006 at the Berlin SportAccord 2005. A host city contract for SportAccord 2006 was inked on July 18, 2005.

At the opening ceremony of the Seoul SportAccord 2006, IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge; Mr. Verbruggen, chairman of SportAccord, Korean Minister of Culture and Tourism Myung-gon Kim and Korean Olympic Committee President Jung-kil Kim delivered their congratulatory speeches.

In his congratulatory remarks, Minister Kim said, “The dynamic mixture of seminars, workshops and exhibitions made SportAccord a premiere event for the sporting movement.”

“By successfully hosting events such as the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and the 2002 World Cup, Korea has been able to establish the necessary infrastructure for hosting such large-scale international competitions,” Kim said. “Korea has also accumulated the knowledge-base and skill-set to hold even better competitions in the future.”

Minister Kim continued to say, “Not only did those events lay the foundation for economic growth in the 21st century, but they also signaled the end of the Cold War Era and ushered in a new and vibrant civil society in Korea.” “That is why I hope that we will all have the opportunity this year at the 2006 SportAccord convention to transfer know-how for successful events and to rediscover the true legacy of international sporting competitions and conventions.”

The fourth annual SportAccord convention offered the commercial sector a once-a-year opportunity to network face-to-face with all of the international sports federations, Olympic associations, bidding and host cities, lawyers, broadcasters and suppliers.

The SportAccord 2006 featured an exhibition of about 60 cities, federations and commercial organizations and an outstanding line-up of speakers, including past and future Olympic host cities, international sports federations and leading media and marketing organizations.

Among the major exhibitors this year were UK Trade & Investment, which was also a silver sponsor of the conference; Comunidad Valenciana; and the XV Pan American Games Rio 2007; as well as five Korean exhibitors -- the Seoul Olympic Sport Promotion Foundation, Chuncheon, Daegu, the Korea Tourism Organization, and the Korea Ssireum Organization.

The exhibition started from April 5 for a three-day run.

SportAccord also secured 16 sponsors for the 2006 event, including two gold sponsors of IEC in Sports and The Contemporary Group. IEC in Sports, whose headquarters are based in Stockholm, Sweden, was a gold sponsor for the event for the third consecutive year.

One of the highlights of the 2006 SportAccord convention was the conference, which was held on April 5-6.

The conference featured two break-out streams -- “Staging a Successful Major Event” and “Financing and Promoting a Sport.”

WTF Announces Results of Electronic Protector Evaluation

The ad-hoc Committee on Electronic Protectors of the World Taekwondo Federation announced its evaluation results of an electronic protector demonstration on March 28, 2006.

The demonstration, the second of its kind by WTF after the demonstration on July 20, 2005, took place at Kyung Hee University on March 25, 2006.

The demonstration attracted four companies: LaJUST of Korea, ATM of Austria, True Score (Impact Measurement), a U.S.-Korea joint venture, and Daedo of Spain.

With regard to the electronic protector system comprising of just the body protectors, LaJUST was the only participant that passed the “acceptable” level of the basic technical requirements to be applied to taekwondo competition.

The systems of two other companies, ATM and Daedo, failed to meet the requirements in the category of “differentiation of valid impact and invalid impact.” The system of True Score failed to meet the acceptable level in two categories: “accuracy of the sense-impact level” and “differentiation of valid impact and invalid impact.”

The other two basic technical requirements are “consecutive impacts” and “calibration.”

In demonstrations of electronic protector systems comprising of both the head and body protectors, however, the two demonstrators - LaJUST and Daedo – failed to meet the acceptable level of the basic technical requirements.

The company that passed the evaluation is required to undergo both laboratory and field tests. Laboratory tests, which will be conducted by the Korea Institute of Sports Science (KISS), will involve sense-impact level tests, transmission systems, safety on electricity and electronics, and endurance of materials.

Fields tests, whose contents and criteria will be made by the ad-hoc committee, aim to determine the conformity of the system to real-life competition, testing the system in a “live” competition setting.

After evaluating the overall tests, the ad-hoc committee is scheduled to present its final evaluation report to WTF, which will be used for WTF’s selection of official electronic protector companies.

WTF is to make a progress report on the electronic protectors before the WTF Executive Council meeting and the General Assembly during the 6th WTF World Junior Taekwondo Championships scheduled for July 26-30, 2006 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The ad-hoc committee recommended WTF to allow the companies that failed this time to apply for additional evaluations. But the committee made it clear that the companies that want to be re-evaluated should undergo all the evaluations in the four basic technical categories and laboratory and field tests.

As part of WTF’s reform program, the ad-hoc committee on electronic protectors was set up in July 2005 and held its first meeting together with a demonstration of electronic protectors on July 20, 2005 in Seoul.

The committee is composed of nine members, including Mr. Soo-nam Park, vice president of WTF, who serves as chairman of the committee; and Mr. Eui-min Ko, chairman of the WTF Technical Committee.

In accordance with the recommendations of the ad-hoc committee after the first demonstration on July 20, 2005, WTF commissioned the KISS to produce a report on basic specifications of electronic protectors. On Dec. 30, 2005, WTF announced the specifications.

WTF aims to introduce the new electronic protector system at the 2007 World Taekwondo Championships to be held in Beijing, China, in 2007 and plans to introduce the new system at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 to ensure fairness in refereeing and judgment at taekwondo competition.

“We are doing our utmost to introduce the new electronic protector system without fail, which will make a milestone in the history of taekwondo,” said Chungwon Choue, president of WTF.

WTF Attends SPORTELAsia 2006 in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, China -- The World Taekwondo Federation participated in SPORTELAsia 2006, which opened on March 20 for a three-day run in Shanghai, China.

For WTF, it marked the first participation in such a global television exhibition.

The Shanghai gathering attracted a total of 658 participants, representing 324 companies from 43 countries around the world, showing a 60-percent hike in the number of stands and a 25-percent increase in terms of participants from last year’s inaugural SPORTELAsia in Hong Kong.

“Our participation in the SPORTELAsia well shows to the global television community our willingness to actively involve in the television market,” said Mr. Luc Sougne, chairman of the WTF TV Committee.

Mr. Sougne continued, “We will continue to attend such events and keep contacts with key global television players.”

Representing WTF, Mr. Sougne and Mr. Seok-jae Kang, director of the WTF PR Division, attended the SPORTEL Asia, meeting with scores of broadcasters, cable and satellites services, program distributors, sports marketing agents and producers.

Among the SPORTEL participants, IEC in Sports, Total Sports Asia, EBU, Korean Broadcasting System and KBS Sky showed great interest in working with WTF.

As a follow-up to the Shanghai meetings, WTF had several meetings in Seoul as some of the participants in Shanghai visited Seoul in early April to attend SportAccord 2006.

WTF served as the secretariat of the SportAccord Seoul Organizing Committee. SportAccord 2006 kicked off on April 3 for a five-day run at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul.

SPORTEL’s next event is the 17th SPORTELMonaco 2006, which is to take place on Oct. 16-19 in Monaco. The SPORTELMonaco 2005 drew 1,884 participants, representing a record 868 companies from 65 companies, making it one of the largest SPORTEL events ever.

WTF President Visits Iran for Int’l Taekwondo Tournament

TEHRAN, Iran --- WTF President Chungwon Choue paid a five-day visit to Iran to attend the 18th Fajr International Taekwondo Tournament, which was held in Teheran on March 2-3, 2006.

It marked the first visit by the WTF head to Iran since the establishment of the world’s taekwondo governing body in 1973. Iran became a WTF member national association in 1975.

During his visit, Choue met with several ranking Iranian government officials, including vice President Mohammad Aliabadi, who is also the president of the Physical Education Organization; Mr. Reza Gharakhanlou, president of the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran.

He also met with Seyyed Amir Hosseini, president of the Iran National Olympic Academy; and Dr. Abdoullah Jassbi, president of Azad University. Choue also had a meeting with Im Hong-jae, Korean Ambassador to Iran.

In those meetings, Choue exchanged opinions with them on ways to promote taekwondo, promising to provide curriculum and other technical assistance to Iran in establishing a proposed taekwondo department at Iran’s universities.

“I will render our knowhow to Iran when it sets up a four-year taekwondo program at universities,” Choue said in a meeting with Mr. Aliabadi and Mr. Gharakhanlou.

Choue also invited Former Iranian President Seyyed Khatami to an international seminar on “Sports and Peace” as a keynote speaker to be held in Seoul next year by Kyung Hee University, earning a positive response from the former president.

Choue gave an affirmative response to Korean Amb. Im’s request for sending a taekwondo demonstration team to Iran this year for the Embassy’s proposed “Korea Week.”

He also gave Amb. Im a right to choose one to two students at the University of Tehran to study at Kyung Hee University on full scholarships. Tehran and Kyung Hee universities signed a sisterhood agreement, but has made no tangible progress in academic fields so far.

Choue spoke well of Iran’s takwondo performances at home and abroad, calling Iran the “mecca of taekwondo in the Middle East.”

“I am happy to say that Iran is one of the most active WTF member countries in the world. I could easily see the high popularity of taekwondo here in Iran, which has more than one million taekwondo practitioners and over 3,000 taekwondo coaches,” Choue said in his congratulatory remarks during the opening ceremony of the 18th Fajr International Taekwondo Tournament.

The tournament, which dates back to 1987 to commemorate the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, attracted about 100 athletes from 10 countries. The participating countries were Korea, Spain, China, Jordan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Belalus and Iran.

Iran won the overall title at the tournament with three gold medals and four bronze medals, followed by Korea with one gold and three silvers and Jordan with one gold and one silver.

The two-day tournament, which was broadcast live for six hours a day across Iran, was held at the Afrasiah Shahid Sports Stadium.

While in Iran, Choue visited the Taekwondo House, which served as the venue for last year’s Fajr International Taekwondo Tournament. The Iranian government built the Taekwondo House in 2004, in recognition of taekwondo’s high popularity in Iran.

Iranian athlete Hadi Saei Bonekhohal, the gold medalist in the men’s lightweight category in the taekwondo competition of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, was voted as the World Player of the Year 2005 by the International Committee for Fair Play under the umbrella of the IOC.

Int’l Symposium on Creation of Worldtaekwondopia in Korea

An international symposium on the creation of “Worldtaekwondopia” was held on March 10 in Jeonju, Korea.

The symposium, organized by the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, drew about 200 dignitaries from both at home and abroad.

Under the theme “Development Direction for the Creation of Worldtaekwondopia,” the event was held at the international conference hall of the Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do in downtown Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.

The symposium was composed of five sessions under different themes and one overall discussion session.

A total of 13 sports expert, including six foreigners, attended the symposium as speakers, moderators or panelists. Among the speakers were Mr. Ching-Kuo Wu, the member of the International Olympic Committee of Chinese Taipei; Dr. Ken Min, an Executive Council member of the World Taekwondo Federation; and Timothy P. White, president of the Idaho University in the United States.

Among the panelists were Mr. Gerrit Eissink of the Netherlands, a member of the Executive Council of WTF. Mr. Dong-hoo Moon, secretary general of WTF, will also attend the symposium as a panelist.

“The purpose of the symposium is to collect various opinions from taekwondo experts from at home and abroad for the proposed creation of ‘Worldtaekwondopia’ or ‘Taekwondo Park’ in Muju, North Jeolla Province,” said Mr. Dai-soon Lee, chairman of the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation. Lee also serves as a vice president of WTF and president of the Asian Taekwondo Union.

The foundation was established on July 1, 2005, to oversee the creation of the so-called Worldtaekwondopia in Muju. Muju was selected as the site for the Korean government-invested project of building a taekwondo park on Dec. 30, 2004.

The foundation plans to finalize its basic plans for the Worldtaekwondopia by the end of July 2006. Under the original plan, the construction of the park is scheduled to begin in 2007.

2nd Oceania Taekwondo Championships Slated for Aug. in New Zealand

The 2nd Oceania Taekwondo Championships will be held on Aug. 26, 2006, in Auckland New Zealand, the Oceania Taekwondo Union said on March 8.

John Kotsifas, secretary general of the OTU, which was launched in July 2005 as the fifth regional union of the World Taekwondo Federation, told WTF that the General Assembly and the Executive Council of the OTU will take place on Aug. 25, one day before the championships.

The New Zealand Association has started planning for the event and it will soon notify OTU countries of all information related to the event, according to the secretary general.

Int’l Referee Refresher Course Held in Dallas, U.S.

A total of 136 international referees from 22 countries participated in the 57th WTF International Referee Refresher Course held in Dallas, the United States, on Feb. 12-14, 2006.

Mr. Hong-ki Kim of the United States, chairman of the WTF Refereeing Committee, gave the lecture for the participants in the refresher course, which was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Among the students were Mr. Mario Mandel Vaisman, who serves as a member of the WTF Executive Council and president of the Chile Taekwondo Federation, and Mr. Roberto Beltran Rammonetti, president of the Mexico Taekwondo Federation.

Mr. Eui-min Ko of Germany, chairman of the WTF Technical Committee, and Mr. Dai-won Moon of Mexico, a member of the WTF Executive Council also attended the event.

WTF held the 55th International Referee Refresher Course in Cairo, Egypt on Jan. 2-4, 2006. A total of 84 taekwondo practitioners from 18 countries attended the refresher course.

The 49th International Referee Seminar & the 56th International Referee Refresher Course was held in Sydney, Australia, on Jan. 17-19, 2006.

WTF Offers Condolences to Philippine Mudslide Victims

Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation, sent letters of condolences on Feb. 20, 2006, to the president of the Philippine Taekwondo Association over the loss of lives resulting from recent mudslide disaster in the Philippines.

Choue also sent letters to Mr. Jose Cojuangco Jr., president of the Philippine National Olympic Committee; Mr. Sung-chon Hong, a WTF Executive Council member; Mr. Francisco J. Elizalde, member of the International Olympic Committee of the Philippines.

In the letter to Robert N. Aventajado, president of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, Choue said, I offer my deepest condolences to you and your loved ones for the tragic consequences of the typhoon and landslides that have hit the Philippines, especially in the village of Guinsaugon.

He continued to say, In particular, I hope that your loved ones are well, and that you and your countrymen will not lose hope in the search for survivors. On behalf of the global taekwondo family, I offer you our unwavering concern and support.

Hoping for a quick recovery, WTF offered financial assistance to the Philippine Taekwondo Association for the rebuilding of sports facilities.

Interview : WTF President Chungwon Choue

Affable Choue Envisions Peace via Taekwondo

By Chris Brockie
Staff Reporter of The Korea Times

SEOUL, April. 4, 2006 --- He leaned forward and chuckled at the idea of him playing an electric guitar but, for a man whose constituency includes some 60 million or more people worldwide, the idea of being a rock’n’roll taekwondo exponent appealed.

Dr. Choue Chung-won, head of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), would like among other things to learn to play guitar _ acoustic guitar _ but that is in the future. For now, the soft-speaking, affable academic-cum-sports administrator has more pressing matters at hand.

With soft piano music coming from somewhere above and sitting over a cup of tea yesterday morning on the first floor of the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, WTF President Dr. Choue, took time for an interview from a busy schedule with SportAccord 2006 of which he is the chief organizer.

This is the first time SportAccord has been held in Asia.

Writing in the most recent issue of ``WTF Taekwondo,’’ the official WTF magazine. Choue said, ``I tend to agree that history defines and continues to characterize who or what we are.’’ Indeed, this perspective shone through in just about everything he talked about; from SportAccord _ which the WTF successfully sought to host last year while in Berlin _ to the future of North-South Korean relations and world peace.

Like many Korean men, he did taekwondo while doing his military service but it was while studying in the U.S. in 1972 that he happened to visit a friend’s taekwondo gymnasium in New Jersey. He found it interesting that ``many Americans were really enjoying their practice of taekwondo.’’ Yet importantly, he realized that not only were Americans and others doing taekwondo but that ``they were doing a uniquely Korean sport, and that is why I keep saying that taekwondo is Korea’s gift to the world.’’

His recognition of taekwondo’s universal appeal went further in 1983 when the Korean government approved his proposal to form the department of taekwondo attached to KyungHeeUniversity’s sports and physical education program.

Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Since then it was approved for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and has been accepted into the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.

Born the eldest of four children in December 1947, he has a younger brother and two younger sisters. He loves sport. He was president of KyungHeeUniversity’s basketball team and during the 80s, he served as president of the Korea Universities Table Tennis Association. He has played both.

``I like sports. I play many other different sports like tennis, golf and football (soccer),’’ he said smiling.

In January 1997 Choue became the 10th president of Kyung Hee Universty which had been founded by his father Dr. Choue Young-seek. With a bachelor’s degree in economics, he later completed his Master’s in international politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the U.S. In 1984, he completed his Ph.D. in international politics at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

It is this academic background, including his studies in international politics, which he believes assists in his role as WTF president and in promoting taekwondo globally, particularly when the WTF is involved at the highest levels in sports promotion “because, as you know the WTF is an international organization.’’ His background helps in his and the WTF’s relationships with their own affiliates and other sports bodies.

The WTF has 179 member nations and over 60 million taekwondo practitioners. Choue is hoping to expand the number of member nations by at least another 10 and increase the number of practitioners to over 100 million. Those extra 10 nations may come during the 6th World Junior Taekweando Championship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, this July.

He is also hoping to fully expand its country membership to that of either the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) which is holding it annual congress in Seoul.

Such expansion, he said, would require that the WTF ``do its utmost in developing taekwondo in newly emerging taekwondo nations.’’

His resume and credentials are as impressive as he is dignified, even humble. He has little difficulty in speaking about how sport can be a way to peace.

On a recent trip to Iran, he discovered that around 1.2 million people there do taekwondo and he sees this as an opportunity to help bring understanding about this part of the world. He said the Iranians had expressed an interest in holding an international taekwondo event there, perhaps next year, and that he would do whatever he could to help.

He also believes taekwondo has a role to play in bringing the two Koreas _ North and South _ together, particularly when the Pyongyang-based International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) and the WTF have had discussions which may allow North Korean taekwondo competitors to compete in a future Olympic games.

At present only those affiliated with the WTF may compete in the Olympic Games. Should the WTF and ITF be able to combine forces, enabling ITF athletes to compete it would need IOC approval, according to Choue, which he feels would be forthcoming. However, such a combination would also require the acceptance and standardization of competition rules across both federations.

Initially elected interim president in 2004, he was re-elected to a four-year term in 2005. As part of his presidency, one of the things he is most adamant about is reforming and strategically positioning the WTF.

Part of this has been achieved through the success in bringing SportAccord to South Korea. But it is perhaps in his reformation ideals that future success really lies. And part of that success is to reach out to the millions of potential practitioners looking for something other than the contact aspect of this martial art.

He said that the non-contact variety _ Poomsae _ is akin to tai chi and it would allow people ``to experience a different form of the sport; one that is unlike the Olympic contact version that they are accustomed to.’’

Indeed the WTF will hold its first World Poomsae Taekwondo Championships in Seoul this coming September.

As Choue sat forward in his chair in the hotel lounge, he was clearly keen to speak about the role taekwondo can play in the world and helping people achieve positiveness in their lives.

Perhaps part of this keenness comes from the being brought up in a family where peace and harmony have long been important in their lives.

He candidly revealed that his family had originally come to the South before the Korean War (1950 – 1953) broke out. At the end of World War II, his father moved here from the north of the peninsula in what is now North Korea. He said his family had lived north of Pyongyang, ``near the Chinese border’’ and ``my father came here in 1946 and my mother and grandmother in 1947.’’

It is with this connection to the north and the humanitarianism instilled through his father’s beliefs and through his own studies that he shines.

In 2001, his father, speaking at the 2001 International Peace Conference in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the U.N. International Day of Peace, said that science and technology had taken the place of humankind, ``resulting in severe human alienation.’’ The senior Choue added that a new movement _ a New Renaissance Movement _ needed to be started ``so that we can achieve the human-centered society once again’’ to ``promote a global common society based on peace, cooperation and prosperity for all.’’

His father is the person credited with the concept of an International Day and an International Year of Peace.

Asked if he considered sport, not just taekwondo, can achieve such a goal, the WTF president shifted easily and leaned forward again, thinking.

``You know, sport can be an achiever in many ways. It can teach us loyalty. It is like sports plus philosophy. Yes, I believe sport can achieve this goal.’’

This ideal is also well put in the WTF magazine in which the affable president wrote: ``In future, we may consider working with governments and international organizations in launching a `Taekwondo Corps’ for such noble undertakings, drawing on our inspiration from the Peace Corps of the United States.’’

As he finished his tea and prepared for the rest of a busy SportAccord day, he added that taekwondo is not just a martial art. It is a way of life that can allow people the opportunity to enhance their mind, their body and soul.

While he continues to improve transparency in the organization and take the sport and the WTF further onto the world stage, he also considers what he might do once it is all over.

Aside from hiking in the mountains, he wants to learn to play guitar. No, he doesn’t want to play the electric guitar _ perhaps being involved at the highest levels of sporting administration and promotion provides sufficient real time electricity for him _ and he wants to take things more slowly, learning among other things Chinese calligraphy. For now, though, the man who brought one of the biggest sporting administration events to Seoul, SportAccord 2006, has little time to slow down.


(ktimes@anthrocrim.com)

Interview : Adriana Carmona of Venezuela

Women are rapidly gaining respect through the sport of taekwondo. This helps empower us in our aspirations to take on meaningful roles in society.

If a picture is worth more than a thousand words, then the images of Adriana Carmona at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games must be worth a thousand more. Adriana embodies the passion and moral fiber of taekwondo athletes in their pursuit of excellence. This feisty 32-year-old Venezuelan won bronze in the over 67 kg weight category at Athens 2004.
She likes to get together with her family and friends to share experiences and to help those close to her who, at difficult moments, need a little support.

How popular is taekwondo among women in your country? Are you an exception in your country in terms of women participation?

In all my years as a competitor, I have been able to witness that every year, the number of countries attending the events of the region is increasing, and the number of female competitors is matching that of males.
In my school, there are a great number of women, young people and children who begin to practice this wonderful martial art for self-defense, but it ends up being much more; it is a way of life.

Do you think that taekwondo has some benefits for women and their status?

Taekwondo benefits women both physically and spiritually, which provides a balance that translates into confidence in oneself. As one obtains goals in life that our society considers difficult, it gives one great status.
Earning sport titles allows you to share with pride the flag and national anthem of your nation at an international level. It is especially meaningful for people to watch with admiration and respect when you come from a small country like mine.

Are Venezuelan women criticized for practicing taekwondo because it is seen as a male sport?

Today, Venezuelan women, like in many countries of the world, are very dynamic. Practicing sports is part of daily life for women in my country. In Venezuela, taekwondo is not considered a male sport, and more and more women of all ages are practicing it.

"Taekwondo teaches you wonderful values and human principles, such as solidarity and peace."

Who was your best opponent in the competitions ever and why?

When it comes to the sport, all my rivals deserve all of my respect. No matter which country they come from, I have observed them carefully in order to develop a strategy of attack and defense in sparring. But through it all, the most difficult rival to overcome was within myself.

What do you think is the most important taekwondo philosophy?

Without a doubt, it is loyalty, to your parents, to your teachers, to your family, to your friends, to your mother country, to your principles, and above all to yourself. The absence of loyalty has absolutely no excuses.

Do you think that taekwondo, solidarity and development can go together? Can taekwondo contribute to the development of humanity, peace, prosperity or equality?

I hold the firm belief that a united family is the base on which a society is built. The family is constantly threatened by a lack of principles; for example, if there is a relative who is not in their best condition, this can affect the rest of the family.
I view the world as one big family; I could not forgive myself for living in apathy when a neighbor is in need. Helping others is helping oneself.
The values that taekwondo teaches are only truly valuable if they are put into practice.

"Never give up on this wonderful sport and martial art in its purest essence. Remember that after a great storm there is a beautiful dawn, and that the tree that withstood but remained flexible in the storm, at the end will be nobler and stronger."

Interview : Pascal Gentil of France

“The values of taekwondo are based on the respect of the rules.”

French taekwondo champion Pascal Gentil is also known as “the Octopus.” Athletic and dynamic, he is also a model, as well as a gentleman, as his name “Gentil” suggests. Born in Martinique, a French territory situated between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Gentil became a French hero through taekwondo. And to think that he achieved such status after only three years of practice.

Practicing taekwondo is good for the development of the human body and soul. In which aspects do you think you have improved through taekwondo?

My body has become more developed overall, particularly my legs. Taekwondo is a martial art that also helps to increase my self-confidence.

You come across as an attractive and charismatic man. What may be the reason(s) that athletes like you gather a lot of media attention and fans around the world?

I believe it is due to my status as a taekwondo champion, and also because of my personality and temperament.

You are also a fashion model. What is your opinion about the traditional dobok? Should it be changed, with a variety of colors and fashion designs?

I believe that we should keep the traditional dobok as it is. Perhaps make a special one for competitions only.
The big issue of the 117th IOC Session in Singapore was whether taekwondo could remain as an Olympic Games.
An obstacle that I can think of was the loss of credibility on the international level and of the IOC because of problems with arbitration, like the artistic skating.

Who is your best opponent ever and why?

My best opponent ever was Mr. Je Gyong Kim from Korea. He will be the best opponent in the heavyweight for me for the rest of my life because of his courage, his force and his capabilities.

How could we promote the development of taekwondo in countries where the sports is not very popular?

It will be helpful for taekwondo development if the champions with great international fame could travel to the countries where taekwondo is developing.

How can taekwondo become a more popular sport? How can it win more publicity in the media?

In order to make taekwondo more popular among the youngsters, it is necessary to consider the more sportive aspects on the highest level. We need to set an example for the future generations.

What are your wishes for 2006?

My wish for 2006 is to win the 18th European Senior Taekwondo Championships to be held in Germany and the WTF World Cup Team Taekwondo Championships to be held in Thailand.

Personally, I wish to obtain my masters degree in sport management and business strategy. Lastly, I will always be an ambassador to promote the values of taekwondo.