Opening Ceremony
2007 Beijing
World Taekwondo Championships

WTF Membership:
 185 as of June 27, 2007
2 Bronze Medals to be Awarded in Taekwondo Competition at Olympic Games
The number of bronze medals to be awarded in the taekwondo competition at the Olympic Games will be expanded to two starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
WTF Offers Condolences to Murdered Iraqi Taekwondo Athletes
Beijing World Taekwondo Championships Wrap Up in Resounding Success
WTF General Assembly Approves to Establish Ethics Committee, Adopts Poomsae Competition Uniforms
1 st Int'l Symposium for Taekwondo Studies Opens in Ceremony in Beijing
WTF's Accounting System Upgraded to International Standards, Says Thai WTF Treasurer
Interview of President with Reuters : Beijing World Taekwondo Competition Wide Open
Mali's Keita Wins Sub-Arab Africa First World Taekwondo Title
UAE Princess Enjoys Taekwondo
Lopez Captures Fourth Straight Taekwondo World Title

2 Bronze Medals to be Awarded in Taekwondo Competition at Olympic Games
The number of bronze medals to be awarded in the taekwondo competition at the Olympic Games will be expanded to two starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In a recent letter to the World Taekwondo Federation, the International Olympic

Committee said it accepted the WTF request for two bronze medals in the taekwondo competition at the Olympic Games.

“I am pleased to inform you that the IOC has decided to agree to your request and to award two bronze medals for the sport of taekwondo at the Olympic Games, beginning at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” said Mr. Kelly Fairweather, sports director of the IOC, in his letter to WTF President Chungwon Choue.

The WTF, the world's sole taekwondo governing body recognized by the IOC in 1980, sent a letter to the IOC on April 10, 2007, asking the IOC to expand the number of bronze medals to be awarded in the taekwondo competition at the Olympic Games to two per weight category. The WTF has a worldwide membership of 184 countries.

Since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the WTF has conducted a single elimination tournament system with double repechage to determine one third-placed winner. “Nevertheless, as with the other combat sports in the Olympic program, an additional fight to determine a single bronze medalist could seriously undermine the athletes' health and all this would be a burden to the Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games,” said the WTF letter.

An inspired WTF sees that the IOC's decision would greatly contribute to the further development of taekwondo. The WTF regards the decision as due recognition by the international sports community, including the IOC, of the WTF's reform programs since the latter part of 2004.

Accordingly the WTF plans to produce follow-up measures for the Olympic competition methods, including the repechage system.

On Feb. 6, 2006, the IOC decided in its Executive Board meeting in Torino, Italy, to increase the number of taekwondo competitors by two male and two female athletes to 128 for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The decision came after the WTF's request to the IOC for the increase in the athlete quota for taekwondo competition at the Olympic Games after the establishment of the WTF's fifth continental union, the Oceania Taekwondo Union, in July 2005.

The WTF is also scheduled to receive more TV rights revenues from the IOC starting from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) in Beijing on April 24, 2007, approved the Council proposal to promote the WTF from Group E to Group D for its contribution to the overall Games program.

WTF Offers Condolences to Murdered Iraqi Taekwondo Athletes

Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation, expressed his shock and sadness on learning that the remains of 13 Iraqi taekwondo athletes, who were kidnapped in May 2006, were found last week in Iraq.

“On behalf of the global taekwondo family, I send my deepest condolences to the victims and their family members,” WTF President Choue said in his letter dated on June 18, 2007, to Mr. Alaa Sharhan Zubon, new president of the Iraqi Taekwondo Federation.

Dr. Choue said that the World Taekwondo Federation strongly condemns kidnapping of athletes and any act of international terrorism as a threat to international peace and security, and also to the Olympic Movement and development of the sport of taekwondo. “Such acts should not be tolerated for any reason.”

“Together with the global taekwondo family, I pray that the new Iraqi Taekwondo Federation will overcome adversity through the everlasting propagation of the Olympic Movement in Iraq,” Dr. Choue said. “The WTF will continue to combat all forms of violations against human rights and the Olympic Movement through the sport of taekwondo.”

Dr. Choue expressed his appreciation to the Iraqi Taekwondo Federation for its dispatching of national players, despite such difficulties, to the 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships, which were held in Beijing on May 18-22, 2007. “Such courage is truly inspiring, and necessary, in the face of adversity.”

On June 18, the Iraqi Taekwondo Federation informed the WTF that the bodies of kidnapped Iraqi taekwondo team were found after more than a year's search.

According to the federation, a total of 15 members of the Iraqi national youth team were kidnapped in May 2006 as they were traveling by bus through the Anbar desert on their way to Jordan to attend a training course. The bodies of at least 13 members of the team were found on June 14, 2007, in the desert about 100km west of Ramadi in Anbar province.

In a separate case, on July 15, 2006, Mr. Jamal Abdul Kareem, former president of the Iraqi Taekwondo Federation, was kidnapped by unknown armed forces, together with Mr. Ahmed Al-Hijiya, former president of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, and Mr. Amir Jabbar, former secretary general of the Iraqi NOC. The two Iraqi NOC leaders were found dead a few days after the kidnapping, and Mr. Kareem's remains were found this year.

On July 25, 2006, the WTF adopted a resolution on Iraq during the WTF General Assembly in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

“Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the International Olympic Committee and its relevant by-laws, in particular the articles on core Olympic values and the propagation of the Olympic Movement, the WTF condemns in the strongest terms the kidnapping of taekwondo officials and athletes from the pertinent member national associations of the WTF and National Olympic Committee; and in some cases, the assassination of officials and athletes of other international sports federations; in Iraq between May and July 2006; in which innocent lives were claimed,” the resolution said.

The resolution continued, “The WTF urges the need for all parties to work together urgently and to cooperate with and provide support and assistance, where appropriate, to the Iraqi authorities in their efforts to obtain the safe release of the kidnapped and to bring justice to the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks.” “The WTF expresses its reinforced determination to combat all forms of violations against human rights and the Olympic Movement through the sport of taekwondo.”

Beijing World Taekwondo Championships Wrap Up in Resounding Success
The 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships concluded its five-day competition in a resounding success at the Changping Gymnasium in northern Beijing, China, on May 22, 2007.

The Beijing championships were a great success for good reasons. It was the largest both in terms of the
number of participating countries and the number of journalists.

“The Beijing World Taekwondo Championships were a great success. The championships, which served as a rehearsal for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, drew about 1,400 athletes and officials from a record 116 countries,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue in his remarks during the closing ceremony at the Changping Gymnasium.

Dr. Choue continued to say, “The opening ceremony was especially spectacular, which involved more than 1,500 performers and 800 volunteers.”

“Reflecting the rapidly growing popularity of the Olympic sport of taekwondo, the Beijing championships attracted a record 335 journalists from 46 countries. The taekwondo matches were broadcast daily both live and in a delayed format around the world,” he said.

He said, “We also witnessed a great improvement in judgment and refereeing at this championship, but we have to do more to ensure fairer judgment and refereeing.” “The success of refereeing at major taekwondo championships is crucial for taekwondo to retain its Olympic status.”

At the closing ceremony, the Fair Play Awards were presented to Croatian Filip Grgic, the gold medal winner in the men's bantamweight division, and Chinese Wu Jingyu, the gold medalist in the women's finweight category.

Venezuela, Australia and Egypt received Good Fighting Spirit Awards, while Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan were chosen as recipients of Active Participation Awards.

Francisco Martin of Spain and Jamie Dossantos of Canada were selected as the best male and female coaches, respectively. Five referees were chosen as the best referees of the Beijing championships --  Soo-kon Oh of Korea, Carmen Navarro Ingles of Spain, Ian Leafe of United Kingdom, Mohamed Hosni Ahmed of Egypt and Nelson Brizuela of Costa Rica.

Doba Modibo Keita of Mali, the gold medalist in the men's heavyweight division, was chosen as the recipient of the Samsung Blue Passion Award.

In the men's division, Korea ranked first in terms of overall medal tally, followed by Iran, Spain, Chinese Taipei and Thailand. In the women's category, Korea also clinched the team title, followed by China, Canada, Spain and Chinese Taipei.

WTF General Assembly Approves to Establish Ethics Committee, Adopts Poomsae Competition Uniforms

The World Taekwondo Federation approved to set up an Ethics Committee in its General Assembly in Beijing, China, on May 17, 2007.

The General Assembly also approved the adoption of a new WTF poomsae competition

uniform, which will be used for the first time at the 2nd WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in September this year in Incheon.

The Assembly also adopted a WTF taekwondo anthem, which will be played for the first time at the 2007 Beijing World Taekwondo Championships, which kick off tomorrow for a five-day run at the Changping Gymnasium in northern Beijing.

The Assembly approved American Samoa and Montenegro as new members of the WTF. With the new additions, the WTF has a global membership of 184.

At the General Assembly, Copenhagen, Denmark, earned the right to host the 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Championships. Baku, Azerbaijan, offered to withdraw its candidacy as the host site of the 2009 World Taekwondo Championships at the last moment, for the solidarity and unity among the global taekwondo family.

The Copenhagen delegation promised to make the 2009 World Taekwondo Championships the best ever taekwondo event.

WTF President appointed Mr. Dae-sung Moon of Korea, the gold medalist in the over 80kg weight class at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and now a professor at a Korean university, and Ms. Myriam Baverel from France, the silver medalist in the over 67kg category at the Athens Olympic Games and now the national coach of the French team, as athlete Council members of the WTF. They will serve a two-year term to the WTF Council.

The General Assembly gave the green light to set up a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) Committee within the WTF Medical Committee. The TEU Committee will function as a subcommittee of the WTF.

Concerning proposals for the amendments to the WTF Competition Rules, the General Assembly decided to gather more feedbacks from member national associations and taekwondo experts before putting them to vote for approval. The date for the approval will be decided at a later time.

Mr. Dai-soon Lee, a vice president of the WTF and chairman of the Coordination Committee for Taekwondo Integration and the WTF's ad-hoc Committee on Dan Certification, made progress reports on the ongoing WTF-ITF discussions and Dan certification. Several delegates raised their concern and worries over the ongoing WTF-ITF talks.

Delegates were also briefed on updated activities of the WTF's ad-hoc Committee on Electronic Protectors, the WTF Paralympic Committee and the Reform Evaluation Committee meeting.

Dr. Nat Indrapana, a vice president of the WTF and IOC member of Thailand, made a report on the Reform Evaluation Committee. Dr. Nat was recently appointed as deputy minister of sports and tourism in Thailand.

Delegates also heard from representatives from the Organizing Committee of the taekwondo competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, world and continental qualification tournaments for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships.

“As president of the WTF, I have devoted most of my time and energy to the following tasks: to make taekwondo more attractive and action-packed, to ensure fairer judgment and refereeing through the introduction of an electronic protector system and stepped-up referee education, to strengthen solidarity between the WTF and member national associations and continental unions by expanding financial support and strengthening solidarity programs, and to enhance financial stability of the WTF through promotion of marketing activities and transparency in the management of finance matters,” said WTF President Choue in his welcome speech at the General Assembly.

Delegates at the General Assembly received an 11-page WTF President's Special Report on WTF Activities, which details major WTF activities since June 11, 2004, when Dr. Choue was elected to president of the WTF.

1st Int’l Symposium for Taekwondo Studies Opens in Ceremony in Beijing

The inaugural International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies opened in an official ceremony here in Beijing, China, on May 16, 2007. drawing great interest from both the media and the public.

Under the theme “The Pursuit of World Peace through Fair Play, the two-day event took place at

Capital Institute of Physical Education in Beijing, China.

The symposium, jointly organized by the WTF, Kyung Hee University in Korea, and Capital Institute of Physical Education in Beijing, took place two days before the start of the 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships. The biennial championships are scheduled for May 18-22 at the Changping Gymnasium in northern Beijing.

The symposium, which featured two breakout sessions – one on academic session and the other on the practical session - drew more than 300 people, including WTF Council members.

Prof. Franjo Prot of University of Zagreb in Croatia and Dr. Willy Pieter, a professor of the School of Health Science, Science of University of Malaysia, served as keynote speakers of the symposium. About 30 papers were presented during the two-day symposium.

“This symposium will serve as an excellent opportunity for taekwondo experts and academics around the world to exchange ideas and opinions, helping taekwondo be firmly positioned as an academic discipline in its own right,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue in his congratulatory remarks during the opening ceremony of the symposium.

Dr. Choue continued to say, “The theme underscores the significance of this inaugural academic event of the WTF and the symposium will help promote the cause of fair play, and through this, contribute to world peace.” “As the first president of the Korean Committee for Fair Play set up last year, I believe that the fundamental philosophy of the Olympic Movement is to engage in fair play.”

“In this regard, the WTF is enthusiastically striving to promote fair play in a number of ways,” he said. “As part of the WTF's efforts to ensure fairness in judging and refereeing at taekwondo competitions, we have taken steps to introduce an electronic protector system.”

In the practical breakout session, five people served as panelists. They are Prof. Prot, who also serves as president of the Croatian Taekwondo Federation; Mr. Rene Leveaux, a professor of University of Technology in Sydney, Australia; Mr. William Sullivan, a professor of Montclair State Univeristy in New Jersey in the United States; Mr. Usman Dildar, chairman of the London Taekwondo Academy; and Ms. Anne Gray Chase, an international referee of the WTF.

The WTF plans to hold the second symposium on the occasion of the 2009 WTF World Taekwondo Championships.
WTF's Accounting System Upgraded to International Standards, Says Thai WTF Treasurer

The World Taekwondo Federation's accounting system has been greatly improved to meet global standards, said Mr. Pricha Thotrakul from Thailand, treasurer of the WTF.

“I do appreciate the WTF's efforts for improving its accounting system in accordance with the general accounting principles practiced

globally,” said Mr. Pricha. “I am happy to announce that the WTF has upgraded its internal auditing by hiring Ernst & Young, a world-class auditing company.”

The Thai WTF treasurer arrived in Seoul on May 4 for a four-day visit to scrutinize the WTF's balance sheets for 2005 and 2006, and budget for 2007, which will be reported to the General Assembly in Beijing, China, on May 17.

Mr. Pricha, who was appointed as the WTF treasurer in 2005, also serves as vice president of Thailand's national taekwondo governing body.

Under a revised WTF Rules and Regulations, the WTF has to make its financial report annually to its General Assembly, which would help make the management of the WTF's financial matters more transparent.

“This is the first time that the WTF has hired a world-class auditing company for internal auditing, which completely checked all the finance and balance sheets,” he said.

Mr. Pricha said the WTF's upgraded financial transparency and fairer refereeing system would help consolidate taekwondo's status as an Olympic status in the international sports community. “The upgraded financial transparency and refereeing would combine to help promote taekwondo's position from IOC TV rights Category D to Category C and B not in the distant future.”
Copenhagen to Host 2009 World Taekwondo Championships

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, earned the right to host the 2009 World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing at the WTF General Assembly on May 17, 2007.

Baku, Azerbaijan, offered to withdraw its candidacy as the host site of the showpiece event at the last moment,

leaving Copenhagen no bidding hindrance.

The Copenhagen delegation promised to make the 2009 World Taekwondo Championships the best ever taekwondo event.

Lars Lundov, director of sports federation of Denmark, said: "this project has been a great example of a fully integrated Danish bid, with the right balance between the sport governing body and the local and regional authorities."

"We have started early, we have planned our concept carefully, and we have taken the necessary steps to convey the benefits for the World Taekwondo Federation in hosting their World Championships in Copenhagen in 2009."

Copenhagen in 2009 will also host the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session and Olympic Congress, which is slated to decide on many issues of the future in Olympic movement.
What Makes A Top Taekwondo Palyer?

Speed, agility and the kicking skills of a mule are just some of the boxes you might be ticking if you were checking your suitability for this popular martial art.

Your mentality is also crucial.
But don't worry. It is a sport anyone can take up.

So what does it take to be the best and why is it such a great sport - even if Olympic stardom is not on your agenda?

Great Britain's performance director and top coach Gary Hall reveals all.

Taekwondo is based around a dazzling combination of kicking techniques, and out-foxing your opponent with a variety of defensive and punching moves.

What does taekwondo mean?
It is the art of hand and foot fighting
TAE - kick or smash with the feet
KWON - fist or to punch
DO - art or way

The better you can put these technical combinations together, the better your performances.

Agility and flexibility will help you achieve all of this.

You have to move across the floor quickly and kick your legs at the same time. It is not easy.

And the good news? These techniques do not rely on your physical strength or size so it is a sport available to anyone.

Taekwondo is a full contact sport so you will have to have a fighter's mentality.

Some people call this desire or passion, but it is a fire in your belly. This has to be a controlled fire burning in your belly.

It will be a desire to train hard (to make it to the elite level the standard is 20 hours a week), a desire to win and a desire to be aggressive without losing your cool.

This will be more natural for some and although it does take a certain type of character, success is never attained without hard work.

When you are on that mat, you have to make decisions under pressure.

If you are getting close to winning a medal in a competition, you are drawing after three rounds and it is down to sudden death, the pressure can be immense.

You have to be able to handle that and be free in mind and be instinctive to still make the right moves.

Much of being able to perform when it matters will depend on you being honest with yourself.

And this means being honest about your preparation. Success will depend on this preparation and this is what we focus on at the taekwondo academy - any club will be the same.

Sarah Stevenson (R) is one of GB's top stars
We train players to concentrate on delivering performances and not winning medals. By the time you walk on to that mat the pressures of competition should be second nature.

You should be able to act logically based on all the effort you have made in your club and in the gym.

Your head should be focused on facts, and not fantasy. This is where honesty comes into play.

Thinking about all your hard work will allow you to perform against the best in the world.

If you haven't done that work then don't waste your time.

Taekwondo is an amazing thing to do.

It offers all the normal benefits of sport - fitness, strength, endurance, flexibility and also self-defence.

It also instils a discipline and a code of ethics that is unique in a martial art form. You will learn self-control and develop a positive mental attitude.

These codes and ethics are good characteristics to help develop you for the future.

And it does not matter how old, or what size and shape you are.

So just find a club. Taekwondo has so many benefits, even if you aren't dreaming of standing on the Olympic podium.

(Story from BBC SPORT on May 29, 2007 )

Interview of President with Reuters :
Beijing World Taekwondo Competition Wide Open

By Keiron Henderson, Rueters

Skilled fighters are emerging from so many countries that the taekwondo tournament at next year's Beijing Olympics could be the most open ever, the head of the sport's world governing body said.

Choue Chungwon, president of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) since 2004, said that last week's world championships

in Beijing had thrown up some stunning surprises, not least men's heavyweight champion Daba Modibo Keita of Mali.

Europe and Asia could turn out to be medal hotspots at the Games if the world championships are any guide to form with gold going to Croatia and Spain, while the growing popularity of the sport in China could mean big wins for the home nation.

"There really is no guessing which countries will win gold in Beijing. It's going to be a really open competition," Choue said in an interview with Reuters.

"In the Sydney Olympics and the Athens Games the medals were distributed between 16 and 18 countries. But at the Beijing world championships this month the medal distribution was fantastic -- 26 countries received gold, silver or bronze."

Choue said the WTF was working hard to make sure that taekwondo remains an Olympic sport after the 2012 Games in London. Its status is reviewed in 2009 and survival to the 2016 Olympics will ensure its current reach to world audiences.

However, Olympic style taekwondo is often criticised for its fighters' passivity. With no hand strikes allowed to the face, evenly-matched fighters often bob in front of each other waiting for an opening.

Although passivity is penalised, high-stakes medal fights are often decided in the blink of an eye after minutes of apparent inaction.

"I've told our technical committee it can do anything to make the sport more interesting. At the moment the mat is square, they're even thinking of having a round mat which would give more room for the athletes to attack," said Choue.

Electronic chest protectors would be used to enhance the accuracy of scoring but one of the WTF's biggest pushes will be to update referee training and selection to head off criticism of bias and incompetence.

"We plan to invite 300 referees from all over the world and to have a special intensive referee education programme. After that we will select 50 out of the 300 and this 50 will move around with Olympic qualification rounds," said Choue.

"After that we will select 29 international referees for the Beijing Olympic Games."

(Story from Reuters on May 31, 2007)
Mali's Keita Wins Sub-Arab Africa First World Taekwondo Title

Daba Modibo Keita snatched the first world taekwondo title not only for Mali but also for all sub-Arab Africa after he won the over 84kg class at the world championships in Beijing on May 21, 2007.

In the men's heavyweight, Keita boasted one of the tallest and strongest guy in the tournament. It's an easy final for him as he established a four-point advantage in the first two rounds without allowing anything to his opponent.

The third round was only trash time. With both losing a point to penalty, Keita grabbed the first world title for his country.

Keito had a long hug with his coach on the platform after winning the final.

"I would like to thank the International Olympic Committee (IOC). IOC has an international program to help African athletes, so we have opportunities to train around the world," said Keito.

"It's not easy to be here. I just tore my back muscle before I came here to play. I have to wear bandage to train for backache.

"The heavyweight title is a great honor for Mali and also a great honor for sub-Arab Africa."

It's a hard game for Keita in semi-final against South Korean Nam Yun-Bae. Keita narrowly edged out the powerful South Korean 2-1 in overtime.

"We lost in the disputed semi-final in Madrid World Championships, so we decided to work harder after that and we proved our strength here," said Keito's coach Ramos Fernando.

(Story from People's Daily Online, Source from Xinhua on May 22, 2007 )
UAE Princess Enjoys Taekwondo

Despite making an early exit from the world taekwondo championships, UEA princess Sheikka Maitha Mohammed Rashed al-Maktoum said she enjoys the sport.

Elegant and refined, she posed for photographers on her way to the dressing room after being defeated 7-0 in the second round of the women's 72kg division on May 18, 2007.

She advanced to the second round after

her first round opponent was disqualified for overweight.

Rashed Al-Maktoum, 27, daughter of Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and owner of the world famous Godolphin Racing stables, also competes in karate and won the silver medal in the over-60 kilogram at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Her private jet touched down in Beijing on May 15 and she reserved an entire floor at Shangri-la Hotel for her stay there, instead of living with the rest of the athletes.

She said she would love to return to compete next year at the Beijing Olympic Games.

(Story from People's Daily Online, Source from Xinhua on May 21, 2007)
Lopez Captures Fourth Straight Taekwondo World Title

BEIJING — American Steven Lopez defeated Korean's Jang Chang-Ha in sudden death on May 20, 2007 to claim his fourth straight taekwondo welterweight world championship, extending his domination of a sport in which he also has two straight Olympic gold medals.

Using a front kick to send the Korean to the mat, Lopez finished up his sixth victory of the day after the two were deadlocked at 0-0 at the end of regulation time. The 28-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, defeated Canada's

Sebastian Michaud in the semifinals.

Lopez also won world titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

The gold medal gave the U.S. team three medals in the tournament. Charlotte Craig of Murrieta, Calif., won bronze in the women's finweight division on May 18, and Diana Lopez, Steven's sister, got a bronze in the featherweight class on May 19.

Other than Steven Lopez, American fighters strauggled on May 20 in the tournament. Women's flyweight Simone DeVito, women's middleweight Dalia Avivi and men's flyweight Tim Thackrey all were eliminated.

(Story from AP on May 20, 2007)