September 25, 2013 – Seoul Korea
Dr. Choue Chung-Won the newly re-elected President of the WTF spoke at a press conference in the Capital City of Seoul announcing that discussions with Dr. Chang Ung and the ITF are close to being finalized. It was hoped that the agreement, which may result in a working relationship allowing each other’s competitors to participate in both group’s events will be finalized next year (2014). It is uncertain at this point at what the complete details are. The two leaders are scheduled to meet again in Russia next month during the World Combat Games that will be held October 18th to the 26th, 2013.
According to Yonhap News Dr. Choue went on record saying “Though our versions of taekwondo may be different as a martial art, I think there is plenty of room for compromise when we look at taekwondo as an Olympic sport.” Their article stated “The WTF has viewed Chang’s ITF as its counterpart since Chang is an IOC member”.
These leaders have taken a posture that can positively affect all of Taekwondo going forward. Neither of these gentlemen was at the helm during the days when the WTF was formed and then rivaled the ITF in the race to the Olympics, which the WTF eventually succeeded at. However as the international sports community saw with the controversy over Wrestling being recommended for elimination by the IOC Executive Board only to be reinstated just weeks ago by the full IOC Membership, no sport, not even the oldest Olympic one is safe in today’s environment of competition for Olympic status! Having the ITF and WTF work together can help insure it beats back the efforts to supplant it by the waiting list candidate sports as well as the myriad of non-Olympic sports of the Sport Accord all vying for inclusion!
It is ironic that this press announcement was made in Seoul, as it was the seat of the ITF Headquarters when General Choi Hong Hi formed it there on March 22, 1966. It marked the first time in history that any international organization was ever headquartered in Korea. However Gen. Choi, like many Koreans ran afoul of the military dictatorships and fled to a life of exile in Canada. The ITF relocated there in 1972 and then finally to Vienna Austria in 1985, during the height of the “Cold War”. This was done to enhance the spread of Taekwondo to the communist and socialists nations, as part of Gen. Choi’s dream to bring Taekwondo to the world, regardless of political ideology, nationality, race, religion or creed! He would be proud of the work these Gentlemen are doing today. In 1973 the WTF was formed at the 1st Taekwondo World Championships that were held in the brand new Kukkiwon in Seoul Korea.
Prof. Chang maintains a good relationship with Dr. Choue. He backed his re-election as well as the successful candidacy of Mr. Bach of Germany. Voice of America recently reported him saying that he is now working to support the candidacy of Dr. Choue as a Member of the IOC. Once their agreement is signed, they will then work with the new IOC President Mr. Thomas Bach as the next step. “The IOC has taken a keen interest in exchanges between the WTF and the ITF,” Choue said. “Thomas Bach, the new IOC president, believes that having any conflict within taekwondo is inappropriate because the sport has a singular root.”
TaeKwonDo Times and Grandmaster Jung Woo Jin have long supported a merging of Taekwondo into one! We are excited by these new developments and eagerly await more news. We of course will report further news as it breaks! TaeKwonDo Times understands that certainly rivalries naturally occurred as groups jockeyed for control and leadership. However today’s leaders are not vested in that battle, as they were not part of it. Nor are many of the circumstances that fueled the tension still relevant today. Taekwondo should be as one and this exciting, breaking news is a great step forward!
Source: September 26 2013 TaeKwonDoTimes