Taekwondo Anthem

WTF Membership:
 185 as of Aug. 28, 2007
Iranian Vice President Visits WTF Headquarters
Iranian Vice President Aliabadi Mohammad visited the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation in Seoul on Aug. 25, 2007, together with several Iranian sports and diplomatic delegates.
WTF President Stresses Fairer Judging and Refereeing at WTF IR Training Camp in Jeonju, Korea
2008 Beijing Olympics Referee Selection Training Camp Kicks off in Jeonju, Korea
Indonesian President Receives Honorary WTF Dan Certificate, Taekwondo Uniform in Seoul
Reflections on the WTF International Referee Training Camp
Sergerie Rules World in Taekwondo
Taekwondo Should be Utilized in Schools, Says Chami-Sather

Iranian Vice President Visits WTF Headquarters

Iranian Vice President Aliabadi Mohammad visited the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation in Seoul on Aug. 25, 2007, together with several Iranian sports and diplomatic delegates.

In a meeting with WTF President Chungwon Choue, Mr. Aliabadi, who also serves as

president of the Iranian Physical Education Organization, expressed his appreciation to President Choue for his support for the development of taekwondo in Iran.

Dr. Choue and Mr. Aliabadi met for the first time in early March of 2006, when the WTF president visited the latter's office in Tehran, the capital of Iran.

“The women taekwondo population has doubled over the last year and we have about 1.5 million taekwondo practitioners across the nation, including some 500,000 active athletes,” said the Iranian vice president.

Referring the Olympic sport of taekwondo as Iran's national sport, Mr. Aliabadi said that Iran should have the “second World Taekwondo Center.”

Dr. Choue said that he was “greatly impressed with the high popularity of taekwondo in Iran.”

Iran launched the 1st Asian Club Taekwondo Championships in February this year.

Iran ranked second after Korea in the male division of the 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships as it clinched two silver medals and one bronze medal. Iran won one gold and one bronze medal in the taekwondo competition of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and also grabbed one bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

At the invitation of the Korean government, Mr. Aliabadi and three other Iranian officials arrived in Seoul on Aug. 23 for a four-day visit.

In the afternoon of Aug. 23, Mr. Aliabadi met with Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Kim Jong-min at a Seoul hotel to sign a memorandum of understanding in the field of sport.
WTF President Stresses Fairer Judging and Refereeing at WTF IR Training Camp in Jeonju, Korea

WTF President Chungwon Choue emphasized the importance of fairer judging and refereeing at taekwondo competitions in his speech for about 190 international referees attending the WTF International Referee Training Camp for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at Woosuk University in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, in Korea on Aug. 1, 2007.

“The success of judging and refereeing at major taekwondo competitions is crucial in order for taekwondo to retain its status as an official Olympic sport,” WTF President Choue said.

He made the remarks for participants in the referee selection training camp, which kicked off on July 29 for a seven-day run. The camp drew a total of 187 referees from 57 countries.

“The WTF has devoted much of its energy and time in working to ensure the fairest judgment and refereeing possible through stepped-up referee education programs,” WTF President Choue said. “The WTF is also striving to introduce an electronic protector system.”

He continued to say, “We have seen much improvement in the WTF's operation and management of international referees at major WTF-promoted taekwondo events, including the 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships.”

Dr. Choue said, “To bring about fairer judgment and refereeing, the WTF adopted several measures at the 2007 World Taekwondo Championships. Among them were the introduction of the WTF-produced referee selection program and the evaluation of referees by coaches of national teams at the competition venue. Strong disciplinary action was also taken on the spot at a competition when undesirable incidents related to judging and refereeing took place.”

Despite such improvements, however, he said, we still have to work hard to further improve our refereeing and judging.

“We should not allow a referee's ‘intentional' or ‘unintentional' mistake to change the color of an athlete's medal at the Olympic Games. We have to minimize referees' human error in judging and refereeing,” he said.

“As WTF referees, you have the responsibility to uphold the integrity of our sport through fair and transparent refereeing. This is a code that both you and myself should abide by in our mutual task of bringing the spirit of fair play to our sport,” Dr. Choue said. “The martial art sport of taekwondo assigns great value to manners and discipline among practitioners.”

He said, “Fairer judging and refereeing will help bring a more orderly environment to the taekwondo competition sites, in which athletes and coaches will accept the competition results  and follow proper protest procedures, if necessary.” “For the For the sake of our athletes and for the sake of taekwondo's future, it is our responsibility to ensure that only the best athletes become worthy champions.”

“That is the reason why we have organized this training camp,” Dr. Choue said. “Following this training, we will rank all participating referees and then send a certain number of highly ranked referees to the World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games scheduled for Sept. 28-30 this year in Manchester, United Kingdom, and the WTF's five continental Olympic qualification tournaments.”

The WTF is scheduled to finalize the 29 referees for the Beijing Olympic Games in February 2008.

As part of our efforts to select the most qualified Olympic referees, WTF President said, we conducted basic medical checkups and fitness tests on all participating referees on July 31 for the first time ever in its referee program.

“Once again, I would like to stress that the future of taekwondo largely depends on your fair judging and refereeing. A successful refereeing and judging at taekwondo competitions will help ensure that taekwondo is included among the IOC's 25 core sports for the Summer Olympic Games,” he said.

“In this regard, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games should be the most exemplary event for taekwondo ever in terms of refereeing and judgment,” WTF President Choue said. “I wish each of you the very best result from this training camp and ask for your continued support for the further development of taekwondo and the WTF.”
2008 Beijing Olympics Referee Selection Training Camp Kicks off in Jeonju, Korea
A training camp to select international referees for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games kicked off at Woosuk University in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on July 29, 2007.

The week-long WTF-organized training camp drew a total of 187 international referees from 57 countries.

Through the intensive training session, which serves as the first stage of screening, the WTF will rank all the participating international referees.

For the second stage of the screening, the WTF will send highly ranked referees to the World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Manchester, United Kingdom, in late September this year, and the WTF's five continental qualification tournaments.

The African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is scheduled for Nov. 1-3 this year in Tripoli, Libya. The Asian Qualification Tournament is slated for Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; the Pan-American Qualification Tournament on Dec. 7-9 in Cali, Colombia; the Oceania Qualification Tournament in late December in New Caledonia; and the European Qualification Tournament on Jan. 26-27, 2008, in Istanbul, Turkey.

By early February next year, the WTF is to announce the final 29 international referees, who will officiate at the taekwondo competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

“We organized this week-long, intensive referee selection training camp as part of our efforts to ensure fair and transparent selection of international referees for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue.

For the first time in the WTF's referee education programs, the training camp conducts basic medical checkups, such as visual acuity, colorblindness, blood pressure and hearing, and fitness tests, like 1,200-meter run, 50-meter sprint and standing long jump.

For the evaluation of practical tests, the WTF set up an eight-member ad-hoc evaluation committee.
Indonesian President Receives Honorary WTF Dan Certificate, Taekwondo Uniform in Seoul
WTF President Chungwon Choue conferred an honorary WTF Dan certificate on Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a ceremony in Seoul on July 25, 2007.

President Yudhoyono, who arrived in Seoul on July 23 as a state guest, also received a taekwondo uniform and black belt at the Peace Hall of Kyung Hee University.

President Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, along with members of the official Indonesian delegation, watched a taekwondo demonstration by taekwondo students of Kyung Hee University. Kyung Hee established a four-year taekwondo department in 1983, the first of its kind in the world.

Among the Indonesian VIPs attending the ceremony were Indonesian Minister of Sports and Youth Mr. Adhyaksa Dault; Mme. Rita Subowo, new member of the International Olympic Committee and president of the Indonesian Olympic Committee; and Lt. Gen. Erwin Sudjono, new president of the Indonesian Taekwondo Association.

“On behalf of the global taekwondo family, I would like to extend my congratulations to Your Excellency on becoming a member of the WTF's global taekwondo family, as you have just received an honorary taekwondo Dan certificate,” said WTF President Choue in his welcoming speech.

Dr. Choue continued that “On the occasion of your visit to Korea, it is my firm belief that Indonesia and Korea would further activate their material and personnel exchanges in various sectors, especially in the sports field through taekwondo.”

“I have heard that Your Excellency is talented both in sports and music, and hope that you will have a good impression of taekwondo,” he said. “Your great concern and support for taekwondo would greatly help promote the Olympic sport of taekwondo in Indonesia, thereby raising your country's status in the international sports community.”

Dr. Choue said, “It is my convinction that Indonesia has great potential for further development of taekwondo, as it has hundreds of thousands of taekwondo practitioners, with its popularity rapidly growing.”

Responding to Dr. Choue's speech, Indonesian President Yudhoyono said in his remarks, “I know taekwondo is one of the best of Korean heritages to the world. I know taekwondo spreads not only a systematic technique of martial art, but also the spirit of inducing peace to the universal welfare of humankind.” “I am now proud to be associated with the noble spirit of taekwondo.”

“I believe the conferring of this highest belt of taekwondo would cement strong relations and cooperation between the Indonesian Taekwondo Association and the World Taekwondo Federation,” the Indonesian President said. “Moreover, I believe that through taekwondo we can bring closer people-to-people link between the two nations. I appreciate Korea's support for the establishment of the Sports Center of Korea-Indonesia Friendship (Taekwondo Center) in Cibubur, Indonesia.”

The President continued, “Taekwondo has been a popular sport in Indonesia for more than 30 years. There are now about 600,000 taekwondo enthusiasts across the country. We have taekwondo organizations at the national level as well as the provincial level. Taekwondo has also been officially played at Indonesian Sports Week, which is the annual national sports tournament in Indonesia, since 1985.”

“It is my fervent hope that the highest belt which I receive today will forever motivate Indonesian taekwondo athletes to better and improve their achievements in the future, in particular for Indonesian taekwondo athletes who are going to take intensive training in Korea for the Southeast Asian Games 2007 in Bangkok in December this year,” the President said.
South Korean Company Finances Cambodia to Build Taekwondo Training Center
A South Korean company has donated $300,000 for Cambodia to build a taekwondo training center, local media reported on Aug. 17, 2007.

The center will become a bridge of friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and South Korea, Cambodian-language
newspaper the Kampuchea Thmey quoted Lee Joong Keun, president of Boo Young Company, as saying.

Bun Sok, Secretary of State Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, said that both sides signed the memorandum of understanding on Aug. 15 and the center will be built inside the Olympics Stadium in Phnom Penh.

"My ministry considers this sport field influential for Cambodia, because our taekwondo players used to receive golden medals on the international stage," he said.

Earlier in April, the South Korean company had donated 100,000 US dollars to help train Cambodian taekwondo players and purchase equipments for them.
Injured Cuban Athlete Takes First Spot in Taekwondo
From his first Pan American Games match with Adrian Spellen, Gerardo's leg was bothering him. However, it wasn't until his third bout when he received a blow on the inside of his knee from Martin Sio (Argentina) that he thought he might not recover. Each time he raised his leg

he felt the cramp that virtually immobilized his leg.

"I knew I was limited. My trainer and I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't use my right leg, which favored the defense of my rival, Anthony Graff (United States), who knew beforehand where to strike. Nonetheless, I was able to maintain the fight, tying at one in regular time and then winning in extra time," said Ortiz.

And the final point that gave him the Cuban his victory came from the injured right leg. "We were in extra time in which the first person to obtain a point wins. I choose the perfect moment to change to the right as I had to do it quickly to surprise him. I was risking everything and I said to myself: there goes the right, and I got it," said Ortiz.

A very excited Gerardo ran around the entire Olympic stadium with the Cuban flag on his shoulders in a show of appreciation to the fans that never stopped supporting him, reports Granma newspaper.

"It was beautiful of them; they motivated me to fight on. I really appreciated the support, not just in the name of Cuba, but of all nations, because I have seen how they have cheered athletes of other countries with the same enthusiasm," he added.

Ortiz also had kind words for his rival for the gold medal. "The US athlete is very good, experienced and never stops battling. He beat me in Cali in the Pre-Pan American Games and now it was my turn.

Brazilian Taekwondo Fighter Gives up Mom's Car and Gets Gold Medal
By Mr. Tales Azzoni(BRAZIL)

It wasn't an easy choice for Brazilian taekwondo fighter Diogo Silva, buy a car for his mom or try to win a gold medal.

He chose the latter and it paid off Sunday when he beat Peru's Peter Lopez to win taekwondo's 68-kilogram men's title for the host country's first gold medal at the Pan American Games. "I bet I'll be able to get my mom a car a lot easier now," he said Monday.

Silva made the front pages of nearly all Brazilian newspapers and said some sponsors had already begun to line up.

He had been saving money to buy the car for his mother, Telma, so she didn't have to travel to her job as a manicurist using public transportation. Then came an opportunity to compete in Europe and he had to make a decision.

"I chose to go to Europe because I knew it would help me get good results in the future," he said. "And here I am, with the gold medal on my chest."

He said he had already saved about US$2,700 to buy the car for his mom before having to use it for the trip to Europe.

Silva makes only $321 a month from the Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation, "and that's when they don't delay payment." He couldn't hold back tears at the podium Sunday as a vibrant crowd loudly sang the national anthem.

"I remembered all the times I saw other athletes in that position and how much I wanted it to be me some time," he said.

During his victory lap, with the Brazilian flag on his back, Silva yelled "It's ours, it's ours," to the delighted crowd.

Silva said he has to give much thanks to his mom, who kept him out of the streets in the interior city of Campinas, about 80 kilometres from Sao Paulo.

"Where I come from, we look up to those who hold guns in their hands," he said. "But when I was a child, my mom made me go to taekwondo practice."

The 25-year-old Brazilian competed at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and was a bronze medallist in the 2003 Pan Ams in the Dominican Republic. A physical education student, Silva was the first Brazilian to win a gold medal on the European circuit, in 2006.

Silva said he didn't get much sleep after his victory Sunday because "there were so many media requests for interviews." He added he was hoping to go home soon so he could "see his mother for the first time in six months."

And maybe even bring her a new car.
Reflections on the WTF International Referee Training Camp

By Ricardo Santiago Jr.(PHILIPPINES)

The 2008 Beijing Olympics International Referee Training Camp held at Woosuk University was quite a memorable learning experience for me.

The training camp was more than just the battery of physical tests, the review of the

hand signals, the dynamic discussions on what is truly a point, and the emphasis on precision practices in the electronic scoring.

Personally, the significance is on gathering of about 200 international referees from all five continents, who came to a greater understanding on how to execute fair and accurate refereeing standards in the coming taekwondo championships.

I believe that by attending that training camp, practicing hard, listening to the seminars and exchanging ideas with colleagues from all over the globe, we are moving in the right direction of evolving into a more dynamic and spectacular taekwondo sport; one that shall continue in future Olympic Games, even after London 2012.

I am grateful and appreciate all the WTF's effort in organizing the camp, which is supported wholeheartedly by its leaders and staff. This endeavor to make all the International Referees become more technically synchronized, as well as the efforts in communicating with all of us about the directions that the WTF currently contribute to the long-term evolution and growth of the world martial art-cum-sport.

It is always a treat to see old IR friends and meet new ones; for that, I am grateful to have attended this training camp.


Sergerie Rules World in Taekwondo

By Ms. John Mackinnon

It's not always easy helping your child find the activity that's right for her - and Karine Sergerie's parents certainly didn't push their daughter into taekwondo. Not right away, anyway.

Mostly, they were at their wits' end when they brought the 5-year-old with them to the

gym to see if perhaps she'd be happy channelling her abundant energy into a little disciplined punching and kicking. Smart move, as it turns out.

Seventeen years later, Sergerie is a Pan American Games gold medallist, the current world champion as a welterweight, with her sights firmly set on the top of the podium at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"I don't know, honestly," the Ste. Catherine native said about her early initiation into the sport. "My parents tried everything - dancing, painting, a lot of activities that just didn't work. I guess I was always very active.

"And my parents have always been in martial arts, so at one point, they gave up and said: 'Okay, just come and train with us.' "

Sergerie trained and competed and has evolved into one of the very best athletes at taekwondo in Canada. She is the best, if you measure it in terms of world championships. When she won the title in her weight class on May 21 in Beijing, she became the first Canadian athlete to hold a world championship in the sport.

Sergerie, it appears, is right on track to realize another childhood fantasy - to compete at the Olympics.

"I remember one time when I was smaller, I watched the Games on TV with my father (Rejean)," Sergerie said. "I said: 'Oh, my goodness! How is it that they can go? What do you have to do?'

"He explained to me that they were basically gods of sports."

At 5-foot-6, 130 pounds, Sergerie, a student at Vanier CEGEP, is no sporting deity. Just a high-strung, personable, gifted athlete who learned early what it took to succeed at her sport. And one who has the strength of will to overcome the inevitable obstacles put in her path.

Yesterday, the obstacle came in the form of her Cuban opponent, Taimi Castellanos, whom she struggled to defeat, by a slender, 1-0 score in a sport where, like boxing, judges count on-target blows to the head or body. In taekwondo, kicks or punches to the head not only count, they count for two points instead of only one for a body blow.

"It was a little bit difficult," Sergerie said of the quarterfinal match against the Cuban. "I think I put too much pressure on (myself) because I wanted to be a bit better.

"I was a bit more myself this afternoon, so that was good."

If she had been any more herself in the semifinal and final matches, it would have been frightening. She ran the score to 7-0 partway through the third round against Asuncion Ocassio of Puerto Rico, whereupon officials invoked the mercy rule and stopped the fight.

In the final, she won kicking away, by an 8-2 count over Heidy Juarez of Guatemala.
Taekwondo Should be Utilized in Schools, Says Chami-Sather

By Karien Jonckheere

There were seven beaming faces on the edge of a pool at a makeshift outdoor venue in Arabian Ranches last week as, with the dreaded board-breaking successfully behind them, a collection of Taekwondo students were handed their prized yellow belts.

This progression from white to yellow not only marked the successful completion of a series of basic movements, forms and breaking tests, but also the first graduation of students in Dubai for Dr. Grace Chami-Sather and her sons Mark and Eric, who have been training the group since February.

Physical benefits

Chami-Sather, who has a doctorate in education and a masters in educational psychology, came across the sport when she went to sign up her sons for classes in the US and was then roped in to participating herself.

Four years on, it has become a lifestyle, and the subject of extensive research into the connection between Taekwondo and education.

"The way we were brought to practice it was a certain lifestyle that the boys and I have led for four years. It wasn't only about self-defence or the art of hand-eye coordination, it was more like a lifestyle and the tenets of Taekwondo - perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, sound mind and a sound body; it's all about consistency, loyalty and honesty," said Chami-Sather.

Apart from the physical benefits of this ancient Korean martial art, which include better coordination, building strength and flexibility and improving cardiovascular conditioning, Chami-Sather believes that Taekwondo is important in developing and improving a child's self-confidence, focus, self awareness and memory and it should be utilised in schools.

"There are some clubs in Dubai, but we don't see too much of it in the open here in the UAE yet. I am trying to bring it into the open and into the schools because it's very important so that they can see that kids really learn by doing. All the things that they know, they have never seen written. They trust their ears and they do them," said Chami-Sather.

"I am hoping that it is promoted not only as a martial art but as a lifestyle. It hasn't fully come alive here yet, but it is getting bigger because Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is involved in it."

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai's daughter is better known for her karate prowess, having claimed a silver medal in last year's Asian Games, but she has also competed in Taekwondo, most recently in the World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing.

Black belt

As for the bunch of kids in Arabian Ranches, they will now be working hard towards attaining their green belts. Achieving the ultimate could be a matter of years away.

"To the next belt, if they are regular and practice three times a week, it should take about a month and a half to two months. Practically if you carried straight on through for two years you could become a black belt, but you have to work extremely hard and really be consistent throughout the year," said Chami-Sather.