SportAccord 2007

WTF Membership:
 182 as of end of April 2007
Taekwondo Promoted to Category D for Greater Olympic TV Rights Revenues
The World Taekwondo Federation will receive more TV rights revenues for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as taekwondo has been promoted from Category E to D.

The promotion was announced during the General Assembly of the ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations) at the Shangri-la Hotel in Beijing, China, on April 24, 2007.
Azerbaijan President is a Strong Supporter of Taekwondo
WTF Selects Taekwondo Anthem
WTF, ITF Hold 1st Meeting of Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration in Beijing
Concordia University in U.S. Marks Inauguration of Taekwondo Program
WTF Electronic Protector Int'l Taekwondo Championships Held in Korea
Mr. Ky Tu Dang
Ms. Nur Syahidah Binti

Taekwondo Promoted to Category D for Greater Olympic TV Rights Revenues
The World Taekwondo Federation will receive more TV rights revenues for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as taekwondo has been promoted from Category E to D.

The promotion was announced during the General Assembly of the ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations) at the Shangri-la Hotel in Beijing, China, on April 24, 2007.

The ASOIF General Assembly approved its Council proposal of promoting the World
Taekwondo Federation and the International Triathlon Union from Group E to Group D for their contribution to the overall Games program. Taekwondo and triathlon made their respective debuts as the official Olympic sports at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Thus, the number of Summer Olympic sports in Category D increased from the previous 14 to 16. Sports in Group D are badminton, baseball, boxing, canoe, fencing, judo, wrestling, modern pentathlon, softball, table tennis, shooting, archery, sailing, weightlifting, taekwondo and triathlon.

Athletics is the only sport in Group A. Group B is composed of basketball, cycling, football, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and volleyball, while Group C consists of equestrian, handball, hockey and rowing.

The IOC's initial groupings and subsequent amendments have resulted in the International Federations being divided into five groups, all of which have been allocated different amounts distributed equally within each group.

Additions to the Games program have been handled according to the principle that new sports on the program of the Summer Olympic Games should first be added to the 5th Group (Group E), but with the intention that those IFs should move up after a period of contribution to the overall Games program.

The ASOIF decided to retain Group E for new sports entering the official program for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Azerbaijan President is a Strong Supporter of Taekwondo
Azerbaijan President Dr. Ilham Heydar Oglu Aliyev is a strong supporter of taekwondo and will greatly contribute to the development of the Olympic sport in his country and the Caspean Sea region, says Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation.

“My first meeting with President Aliyev was prior to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and through subsequent meetings with him, I have found that he is a strong supporter of taekwondo,” said WTF President Choue. “I believe that he will greatly contribute to the development of taekwondo in Azerbaijan and in the Caspean Sea region.”

He made the remarks during the conferment ceremony of an honorary doctor’s degree in political science on Azerbaijan President Aliyev from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, on April 24, 2007.

Dr. Choue served as president of Kyung Hee University twice, the largest private school in Korea.

Accompanying a 100-some delegation, Azerbaijan President Aliyev arrived in Seoul on April 23 as a guest of the state. Among the delegates was Mr. Kamaladdin Heydarov, president of the Azerbaijan Taekwondo Federation and vice president of the WTF.

“Under his strong economic and political leadership, Azerbaijan has in recent years achieved the highest economic growth in the region,” Dr. Choue said. “In recognition of his immense contributions to the prosperity of Azerbaijan, President Aliyev has deservedly received this honorary doctorate from Kyung Hee University.”

On Dec. 4, 2006, Azerbaijan President Aliyev welcomed WTF President Choue at the Presidential Palace in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to exchange opinions on how to promote taekwondo.

President Aliyev, who also serves as president of the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee, met with the leaders of the Azerbaijan Taekwondo Federation, medal winners in taekwondo competitions and their coaches on June 21, 2006 at the office of the National Olympic Committee.

"Azerbaijan President Dr. Ilham Heydar Oglu Aliyev is a strong supporter of taekwondo and will greatly contribute to the development of the Olympic sport in his country and the Caspean Sea region", says Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation.


WTF Selects Taekwondo Anthem
The World Taekwondo Federation has selected a taekwondo anthem, with its final announcement pending the approval of the WTF Executive Council in Beijing, China, in May.

The WTF's Screening Committee conducted an evaluation of entries for the taekwondo anthem and taekwondo song lyrics contest at the WTF
headquarters in Seoul on April 5, 2007.

For the first time ever in its 34 years of history, the WTF conducted a three-month contest for taekwondo anthem and taekwondo song lyrics between Nov. 1, 2006, and Jan. 31, 2007.

In the field of taekwondo anthem, the contest drew a total of six entries from four countries - Korea, France, Azerbaijan and Croatia, while eight lyrics from five countries - Korea, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom and Croatia - were submitted in the taekwondo song lyric category.

As the result of the evaluation by the seven-member Screening Committee, the entry by Korea's Lee Woo-chang, a post modern music composer, was selected as the best composition for the taekwondo anthem, pending the approval of the WTF Executive Council in Beijing in May.

The Screening Committee, composed of four taekwondo dignitaries and three music experts, decided not to select a winning taekwondo song lyric. Accordingly, the WTF plans to post Lee's approved composition on the official WTF Web site before inviting the public to compose a fitting set of English lyrics for Lee's composition to be used as the WTF's official taekwondo song.

The criteria of the evaluation were artistic level, popularity, relevance to taekwondo, creativity and applicability. To ensure fairness in evaluation, the WTF conducted a lot drawing for the order of the evaluation of the entries and filmed the whole process of evaluation.

WTF, ITF Hold 1st Meeting of Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration in Beijing
The World Taekwondo Federation and the International Taekwon-Do Federation held their first meeting of the Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration in Beijing, China, on March 31, 2007. The meeting is the results of a Mutual Agreement between WTF President
Chungwon Choue and Mr. Ung Chang, president of the ITF, in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 2, 2006. The two takwondo bodies held four rounds of working-level talks for the full-fledged meeting, with the first working-level talk taking place on June 27-28, 2005 in Beijing.

At the Beijing meeting, the Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration was officially formed, with Mr. Dai-soon Lee, vice president of the WTF, and Mr. Ryu Song-il, chairman of the Merger Committee of the ITF, as its co-chairmen.

For the talk, the WTF fielded a six-member delegation, led by Mr. Lee. The other delegates were WTF Secretary General Jin Suk Yang, Mr. Kyu-seok Lee, member of the WTF Council, Mr. Kyong-myong Lee, chairman of the WTF Education Committee; Mr. Manseek Choe, deputy secretary general of the WTF; and Mr. Seok-jae Kang, director of the WTF PR Division.

The ITF also sent a six-member contingent, headed by Mr. Ryu. The others were Mr. Ri Yong-son, executive director general of the ITF; Mr. Ro Yong-sok, chairman of the ITF Technical Committee; Mr. Anto Nobilo, member of the ITF Merger Committee; Mr. Won Se-yon, member of the ITF Technical Committee; and Mr. O Won-il, member of the ITF Merger Committee.

The two parties confirmed their respective positions on the mission, authority and operation procedures of the Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration.

Other than the exchange of materials related to taekwondo poomsae and kyorugi, both parties decided to deal with technical matters first, in the hope of producing tangible results.

The two parties also agreed to decide on the date and venue of the next meeting through consultations later with each other.

At the meeting, the WTF delegation also suggested its three basic principles as follows:
- The WTF respects the Olympic Charter and its regulations to embody the basic principles of the Olympic Movement.
- The WTF is committed to the development of taekwondo.
- The WTF respects the order and the rules and regulations of international sports federations.

In this regard, the WTF made it clear at the meeting that all the agreed matters at the Coordination Committee shall take effect upon approval of the two taekwondo federations' highest decision-making bodies, such as the Executive Council and the General Assembly.

"It is important for the WTF to abide by the decision of its highest authority, the General Assembly. The approval process is also in line with the Dec. 2 Mutual Agreement stipulating the respect of the parties' agreement on June 28, 2005," said WTF Vice President Lee.

He said, "In the meantime, we will review the ITF's partial set of materials on taekwondo poomsae and kyorugi, which we received in Beijing. Nonetheless, I wish to emphasize that we require the ITF's full set of materials to better understand the differences between the WTF and the ITF, before we decide on the second meeting of the Coordination Committee."

Concordia University in U.S. Marks Inauguration of Taekwondo Program
Concordia University Irvine, California in the United States marked the inauguration of its taekwondo program in an official ceremony at its campus on March 24, 2007.

Concordia University Irvine has, it claims, become the first university outside Korea, which
offers a four-year bachelor's degree in taekwondo to its students.

The ceremony featured a taekwondo demonstration by the Korean national demonstration team, drawing a big applause from hundreds of  participants.

Among the dignitaries at the ceremony were Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation; Mr. Robert Ctvrtlik, a member of the International Olympic Committee; and Ms. Beth Krom, mayor of the city of Irvine.

"This new program will fill a distinctive niche of exercise and sports science, business, and is modeled after similar programs in Korea, where taekwondo is an academic discipline and profession," said Dr. Jacob Preus, president of Concordia University Irvine, in his opening speech in the inauguration ceremony.

He continued to say, "Taekwondo at Concordia is a four-year program leading to a bachelor of arts degree with a Kukkiwon certified 4th black belt. In addition to acquiring the knowledge and the skills in taekwondo, students will be prepared to run their own business, teach and officiate in taekwondo event."

Concordia University Irvine is part of the national Concordia University system of ten colleges and universities in the United States. In Korea, there are 22 universities and 16 colleges that offer four-year and two-year taekwondo programs, respectively.

Dr. Preus also read for the participants a congratulatory message from U.S. President George Bush.

"Concordia's taekwondo program is especially encouraging to the global taekwondo family, as several countries, such as Iran, Venezuela and Turkey, are planning to introduce taekwondo for their respective students," said WTF President Choue in his congratulatory address.

In February, Canada's Chatham College International Taekwondo School opened a residential secondary-school taekwondo program for students around the world. Reflecting the rapidly growing popularity of taekwondo, two of China's most populated provinces, Sichuan and Henan, made taekwondo a compulsory subject at their elementary schools in 2006.

"For further development of taekwondo, as an Olympic sport, I believe that we need more competent, professional leaders with international experience and knowledge,?Dr. Choue said. ?n that sense, I think that Concordia University would serve that purpose well."

During the ceremony, WTF President Choue presented a taekwondo sculpture to Dr. Preus to commemorate the inauguration of the school's taekwondo program.

Dr. Choue also handed a plaque of appreciation to Prof. Chang-jin Kang, the taekwondo program director of Concordia University Irvine. Prof. Kang, a ninth Dan black-belt holder, started taekwondo in 1958, when he was 14 years old. He emigrated to the United States in 1978.

Dr. Choue's speech was followed by congratulatory remarks of IOC Member Ctvrtlik, who lives nearby Concordia Univeristy Irvine, and Irvine Mayor Krom.

During a welcome dinner hosted by the Concordia University President on March 23, Dr. Choue presented a taekwondo uniform and a black belt each to four ranking school officials - Dr Preus; Dr. Shang Ik Moon, executive vice president in charge of international relations of Concordia University Irvine; Dr. Kenneth Mangeles, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Vance Tammen, chair of the Division of Exercise and Sport Science.

WTF Electronic Protector Int'l Taekwondo Championships Held in Korea
The WTF Electronic Protector International Taekwondo Championships wrapped up its two-day event in Chuncheon, Korea on March 5, 2007.

The electronic protector championships drew much attention from local and foreign media,
especially television networks.The KBS-2TV broadcast live nationwide the second day of competitions.

The WTF's nine-member Executive Committee met early in the day to reaffirm the necessity of developing and adopting the electronic protector system at taekwondo competitions to ensure fair judgment and refereeing.

The event, which took place at the Hoban Gymnasium in downtown Chuncheon, drew about 160 athletes and officials from 19 countries. Among the participating countries were China, Chinese Taipei, Egypt, France, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and Korea.

"The development of the electronic protector system opens a new chapter for the WTF, as we strive to enhance our refereeing and judging standards," said WTF President Chungwon Choue during the opening ceremony of the championships on March 4. "This is an endeavor that must succeed. There is no room for error."

The opening ceremony was followed by a demonstration of taekwondo practitioners with a disability, and a demonstration of competition uniforms for taekwondo poomsae.

Attending the opening ceremony of the championships were Dr. Nat Indrapana, vice president of the WTF and IOC member of Thailand; Mr. Wu Ching Kuo, a member of the WTF's Advisory Council and IOC member of Chinese Taipei.

Among other dignitaries were Mr. Ketil Petterson, the ORIS (Olympic Results & Information System) sport analyst for taekwondo; and Mr. Cao Tao, competition manager for taekwondo of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.

Asian Taekwondo Union Inks Pact on Taekwondo Promotion with Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
The Asian Taekwondo Union has signed a memorandum of understanding on taekwondo promotion with three Southeast Asian countries - Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

In a tour of the three countries between April 15 and April 21, 2007,
Mr. Dai-soon Lee, president of the Asian Taekwondo Union, signed the MOU on taekwondo promotion, under the sponsorship of Booyoung Co.

Booyoung began sponsoring the ATU's taekwondo support program for Asian countries in 2006.

"Our support program will greatly help consolidate taekwondo's position in Asia and will be of much help to those countries which require financial support," said ATU President Lee.

On April 16, Mr. Lee, who also serves as vice president of the World Taekwondo Federation, met with Mr. Dang Quoc Tien, president of the Vietnam Taekwondo Association, to sign the agreement at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Also at hand at the signing ceremony were Mr. Kyu-seok Lee, vice president of the ATU and Executive Council member of the WTF; Mr. Ki-cheol Choi, secretary general of the ATU; and Mr. Truong Ngoc De, vice president and secretary general of the Vietnam Taekwondo Association.

Under the agreement, the ATU will invite an 18-member Vietnamese national taekwondo delegation to Korea for two months of intensive training.

On April 18, Mr. Lee of the ATU inked a similar agreement with Mr. Hem Samnang, new president of the Cambodian Taekwondo Federation. According to the pact, the ATU, under the sponsorship of Booyoung, will invite a 10-member Cambodian national taekwondo team to Korea for a two-month intensive training, while dispatching 10 Korean university students majoring in taekwondo to Cambodia for one month during the summer vacation.

On April 20, the ATU leaders visited Vientiane, Laos, to ink a similar agreement with Pol. Gen. Vilay Douanmany, president of the Lao Taekwondo Federation. The pact calls the ATU's invitation of a 10-member Lao national taekwondo delegation to Korea and a dispatch of 10 Korean university students to Laos.

Mr. Ky Tu Dang
Mr. Ky Tu Dang of Denmark won the silver medal in the men's individual 1st master division of the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in September 2006 in Seoul, Korea. He is the current champion of the European Poomsae Championships.

Q: What was your motivation to attend the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships?
A: After winning all the previous European Poomsae Championships, the World Poomsae Championships were naturally my next step. I am happy that at last the rest of the world is joining this marvelous way of competing. The motivation in this was preparing and practicing. I gained, learned and developed lots of experiences and understanding of the techniques and the forms, not to mention about learning about my self.

Q: Could you tell us about your training activities?

A: Since we started to have poomsae competitions in Europe back in the 1980s, this has drawn a very big attention throughout Europe and slowly in the rest of the world. Now, the poomsae competitions are the most-attended tournaments in Europe because of its popularity and the wide range of competitors of all ages, degrees and categories, such as breakings, freestyles and self-defense.

I practice a couple of hours each day and also teach the team three to four hours. I have developed the way of expressing myself through poomsae movements, so they achieve to have different personalities and characters - though they still contain the same techniques and combinations. I perform them differently depending on which events and who the spectators are. Briefly, I practice or prepare my trainings and do programs depending on the goal.

Q: Why did you start practicing taekwondo?
A: I started taking up taekwondo when I was 7 years old. So the reasons have changed throughout the different stages in my life. In the beginning, it was for the self-defense. Later it was because of the nature of the sport and the competitions. Now it's a life style and a hobby. I am developing myself and searching for innovations of my own taekwondo style.

Q: Is the revised WTF taekwondo rules good?

A: Of course, changes are good for the developments. They are awakening us and make us to think about what we used to do. But it's important to be aware of when one makes the changes: they have to be for the better and not for the worse, which means we have to step forward in our thinking and use all the experiences we have had to implement the changes.

The changes can be confusing and split the "join-forces" if they are not well-thought and have no clear development factors. The worst changes are the changes only for the changes or to demonstrate someone's personal ambitions by forcing the rest to follow the changes without being heard.

Q: Do you think that the refereeing system has been improved?
A: The system has developed a lot and is getting better due to the development of IT science. We can now follow every step of how the referees do the judging and also the progress of the games and competitions. But we are lacking the refereeing skills, while the referees need to have the chance to obtain skills and experiences. Finally, when the system is functioning well, the people who use it still need the integrity, skills and experience.

Q: What are the major challenges for a taekwondo athlete like you?

A: I, myself, and my fellow competitors think that the major difficulties for the athletes in general are the uncertainties in conducting the rules. We, the athletes, practice hard every day for many hours with the goal of winning fairly and according to the rules. But often, the rules were changed at the last moment just before the competitions. This situation demotivates us and generates confusions among the athletes and the referees.

Q: What is your impression of your fellow contestants?

A: All my contestants became my friends. They are from all over the world. We share the friendships because we share the same passion. In gyeorugi competitions we are not only competing in hitting each other the hardest, fastest or trying to knockout the other. We compete in the same techniques, which are poomsae, but it is all about who is the best in expressing the poomsae and giving the best performance. So besides the technical skills we have, we have to mix them with our personality and character. We learn to know each other by observing each other's performances.

Q: How do you experience the growing importance of poomsae in championships?

A: I am glad that we finally have the WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships after a very long time of waiting. But the signals we received after the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in September 2006 were somehow negative.

The rest of the world, besides Korea, is now very confused. We have been practicing and competing in poomsae for more than 20 years. In the last two years, before the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships, we participated in all poomsae seminars conducted by the WTF and studied the new standard WTF poomsae DVDs. However, it seems like we were not learning anything. Or is it because poomsae competitions are not the competitions for us, the non-Koreans?

I hope taekwondo will still become an international sport and martial art, even kyorugi, poomsae or just taekwondo. I am sorry to tell the readers that I feel the signals that would have a negative impact on the interests of poomsae competitions after the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships because really many countries have looked forward to this event with lots of expectations for spectacular performances of a higher quality than what they used to see at their local championships. But this was not the case. You can read my comments on the Internet.

Q: Your message to other athletes and friends?

A: Please, keep kicking! We are doing this because we like it and enjoy it. We are winning every day from practicing, but also not just for winning in competitions.

Q: What are your plans for 2007?

A: My plans are keeping kicking, practicing, attending and conducting seminars, competing in all the championships for which I would have time and money, so that I can meet all my friends from all over the world at the same time.

Q: Your final comments you'd like to add?

A: I always read this magazine with great joy. It's very informative for the federations and the "Readers." Moreover, I think with this kind of interviews you can reach another dimension: the members and the athletes can be heard and have the channel to express themselves. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Ms. Nur Syahidah Binti
Ms. Nur Syahidah Binti Abdullah of Malaysia, born in 1970, was honored as one of the six best international referees at the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Seoul in 2006.

Q: Why did you decide to become an international referee?
A: After I retired as a competitor, I decided to become an international referee as it was a way to continue my love for the sport of taekwondo and to give something back to
taekwondo and the many other athletes, coaches, and officials who supported me and made such a difference in my life.

Since I became an international referee, I have been to one World Taekwondo Championships, one World Junior Taekwondo Championships, one World Cup organized by the WTF and many other open championships. My experiences as an IR for the most part have been very positive. I have learned a lot, met very good people and gained many life-long friends.

Being an international referee gives me an opportunity to assist in the ongoing development of taekwondo as a world-class Olympic sport. Additionally, I can continue to meet people from all around the world, share ideas and learn about different cultures.

Q: What is your evaluation of the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships?
A: The 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships were a successful event, but there are still many aspects that need to be improved. The championship provided a world platform for many skilled martial artists to show another side of taekwondo, which is very popular and enjoyed by many taekwondo practitioners around the world.

Q: What was the most memorable taekwondo match in which you officiated?
A: I can recall one match between athletes from Germany and the United States at the World Taekwondo Championship in Germany, where both competitors were very active throughout all the three rounds. This made the competition exiting because lots of taekwondo techniques and skills were displayed during that match.

Q: What is your opinion of the new WTF Competition Rules and electronic protectors?
A: The new competition rules are acceptable. I think the 12-point ceiling should be eliminated, but the 7-point gap should be maintained. In a sport such as taekwondo where a competitor has the chance to win at any moment because of the "Knock-out" possibility, the rules related to the 7-point gap and the 12-point ceiling may not take into consideration the heart of an athlete.

I think that any suggested changes to the rules should be tested before deciding whether to put them into effect. It is my experience that changes to the competition rules had little or no effect on competitors' willingness to exchange a greater number of techniques and skills.

As we have had no opportunity to really see the electronic protectors in action at a large-scale competition, any comment at this time would be nothing more than a guess. However, as the electronic protector at this time is only for the chest and not for the head, in other words, it is not totally electronic. I am not sure whether it is worth introducing at this time. I believe more studies should be conducted on it.

Q: What can be done more for the international referees?
A: My suggestions are as follows: a better per diem, early selections to taekwondo tournaments, more training opportunities, and hotel and airfare coverage for all WTF events.

Q: What are your wishes for 2007?

A: My wish for this year is to be selected as a referee for the World Taekwondo Championships scheduled for May in Beijing, China and one or two of the WTF's continental qualification tournaments for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. One of my goals is to work hard and be selected as one of the outstanding referees of the event and be selected to officiate at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.