Saturday, July 09, 2005

Taekwondo: “Phew…”

JULY 09, 2005 03:06
by Hwan Soo Zang (

The electronic vote that started at 12:01 p.m. was conducted in such a hurry. It took only 45 minutes. After the vote, IOC President Jacques Rogge approached the podium in the Raffles Ballroom at the Raffles Plaza Hotel in Singapore on July 8.

According to a reliable foreign source, all of the existing 28 summer sports were about to remain in the program. But baseball, the fourth, and softball, the 20th, were dropped. Taekwondo, the 21st, was the next on the list. World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Choue Chung-won, Korean Olympic Committee President Kim Jung-kil and other members in the Korean delegation could not relax because they were thinking, “Taekwondo, too, might be placed on the ‘out’ list…” When President Rogge uttered the word “included,” all Korean delegates cheered. That simple word ensured the future of Taekwondo, Korea’s national sport, as an Olympic sport.

At the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, which sports would remain and which would not were decided by a vote. Taekwondo gained more than half of the ballot’s votes and will be part of the official program of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Taekwondo has been chosen as an official sport four times in a row.

President Choue Chung-won commented on the result, showing his resolve, “Taekwondo is like a gift given to the world by Korea. That’s why we should keep it in the Olympic program. I will complete the reforms on Taekwondo not to worry Koreans about its elimination issue after four years from now.”

On the other hand, baseball was taken in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games as an official sport, and softball was for the 1996 Atlanta Games. They are the first two sports to be excluded in 69 years since the expulsion of polo in 1936.

Each of the 28 summer sports had a separate vote, and the numbers of votes obtained were kept secret out of concerns that they might affect sponsorship and TV broadcasting contracts.

The IOC will convene a meeting for its executive commission in the evening to select two sports out of rugby, golf, karate, squash and roller sports. A candidate that receives more than two-thirds of the registered votes at the IOC General Assembly on July 9 will earn a ticket to the Olympic games. If the candidate again receives a majority vote, it will be adopted as an official sport in 2012.

Taekwondo remaining in the Olympic games could be due to the organized leadership of KOC President Kim Jung-kil after the power vacuum left behind former IOC Vice President Kim Un-yong. President Choue’s strong will to reform Taekwondo, as was shown for the last 13 months, also impressed the IOC, observers say.

Now the WTF has 179 member nations with 60million individuals learning Taekwondo all over the world. In terms of its support base, it is among the top 10 sports in the 28 summer Olympic sports. The expanded influence of Taekwondo played a role in the IOC’s decision.

As Taekwondo has remained in the Olympics for four successive times, President Choue is more likely to be elected an IOC member, just as International Judo Federation President and IOC member Park Yong-sung was, after the year 2009 when Choue will run for reelection.

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Taekwondo Still An Olympic Sport

Friday, July 08, 2005
Posted 1:38 pm ET (

The Korean martial art of taekwondo has remained an Olympic sport following a vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The number of votes at the IOC general assembly was not disclosed.

Choue Chung-won, President of the WTF, told the Yonhap News Agency, “we did our best and waited for a good result. As we did what we could have done, the news was what we had waited for. I felt some credit was recovered from the world’s taekwondo people after Kim Un-yong’s embezzlement and jail term”.

The sport has been criticized over incorrect referee judgements that frequently cause score disputes. It has also been accused of being unpopular and unsuitable for television.

A WTF official said, “a report on the reform of taekwondo submitted to the IOC last year may have made a good impression on IOC members. From now on we have no choice but to carry out the reforms as scheduled”.

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MALAYSIA: Azalina may have to step in again

S. Selvam
July 7

THROUGH the timely intervention of Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said, the National Junior Taekwondo Championships were saved in May.

Now, another tournament — the Selangor International Taekwondo Championships — need Azalina’s intervention if they are to be successfully organised at Uniten in Bangi this weekend.

The National Junior Championships were postponed at the 11th hour by the Terengganu Taekwondo Association, a situation which left many parents and athletes disappointed and in the lurch.

However, through Azalina’s intervention, the meet was organised as scheduled.

"Athletes from Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand are already here.

"However, we have been asked to provide a letter from the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) to sanction the tournament," said Selangor Taekwondo Association (STA) secretary C.K. Karan yesterday.

"But we are not affiliated to the WTF and as such, we don’t correspond with them.

"And since the championships start on Saturday, we hope the Sports Commissioner’s office can give us the necessary approval."

Taekwondo’s governing body, under the WTF umbrella, the Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) was de-registered by Sports Commissioner Tan Sri Elyas Omar on May 6.

The MTA, however, has taken the matter to court.

However, according to the Sports Commissioner’s office, the power to approve the championships rests with the Sports Minister.

In fact Article 33 of the Sports Development Act, 1997 states that no person shall bid to host any international sports competition or event in Malaysia without the prior approval in writing of the minister whose decision thereon shall be final.

"The Sports Commissioner’s office has no objections as the championships are to foster goodwill and promote Selangor in particular and Malaysia in general as a tourist destination," said the official.

"In fact, I believe the tournament is part of the State Government’s programme for its ‘Selangor Maju’ campaign.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Roh joins fight to save taekwondo

Wednesday July 6, 2005

SEOUL: South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has written to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge requesting his support in keeping taekwondo as an Olympic event, Roh's office said yesterday.

In his letter, delivered on Monday by Korean Olympic Committee head Kim Jung-kil, Roh called for Rogge's “continuing support for developing Korean sports, including taekwondo,” the office said.

IOC members will vote on Friday on whether to retain taekwondo as an official event for the 2012 Olympics, during their annual session which opened yesterday in Singapore.

Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport in 2000. But the Korean martial art has been challenged by Japanese martial art karate. – AFP

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Taekwondo’s Destiny to Be Decided July 8

JULY 05, 2005 02:28
by Hwan Soo Zang (

Starting July 5, a conference that will affect the very existence of Korean sports will be held in Singapore and last for four days.

It’s because at the 117th general meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 5 in Singapore, the IOC is scheduled to vote on a number of issues, including the selection of a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games on July 6, a vote on dismissing IOC members involved in a bribery scandal on July 7, and a vote on the exclusion of 28 Olympic events on July 8.

All of Korea’s attention is fixed on the last day as Taekwondo, a national sport, is scheduled to be voted on. The selection of a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is expected to play a critical role in the election hopes of Pyeongchang, which is bidding to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Taekwondo’s Prospects-

World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) president Choue Chung-won said, “At present, Taekwondo is in neither an optimistic nor pessimistic situation,” and left Korea saying, “Do your best and God will do the rest” on July 1.

In fact, it was a commonly held view that Taekwondo, which was an official event for three consecutive Olympic Games from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was relatively safe until a few months ago.

However, with the impending vote, the theory of careful movement is prevalent. Last month, the IOC pointed out in its evaluation report that Taekwondo has a low chance of getting attention in the media with low TV ratings, low popularity, and a problem in fairness of judgment.

Every public opinion poll on possible events for exclusion conducted worldwide contained Taekwondo.

Karate’s aggressive lobbying is also an eyesore. The voluntary resignation from the vice-president post of Kim Un-yong, who was released on parole on June 30, developed as a three-party deal between Cheong Wa Dae, and IOC president Jacques Rogge, which deteriorated public opinion in international sports circles.

However, Taekwondo drew a positive evaluation from the IOC by submitting a blueprint to improve the above three problems in a report from its reform committee, and is putting its hope not on an individual’s ability, but on its omni directional sports diplomacy that it displayed “post Kim Un-yong.”

The Vote for Exclusion-

If a majority of 59 votes is achieved in secret electronic voting out of a total of 116 IOC members, Taekwondo will be selected as an official event of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The result only decides pros and cons, and the polling process is not open to the public in principle.

In addition to Taekwondo, Korea also should pay close attention whether or not archery, Korea’s main source of gold medals, and baseball will be excluded from event categories.

Candidate events to be included into the Olympic Games are golf, rugby, squash, karate, and roller sports.

Selection of Venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games-

With Paris ahead of the other cities, London, New York, Madrid, and Moscow are also candidates to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

For Pyeongchang, it would be more favorable if a European city was selected.

A strong competitor of Pyeongchang is Salzburg of Austria, and it is highly likely that votes will flow to Pyeongchang in accordance with the unwritten law of letting each continent (Europe, America, Asia) hold the Olympic Games in turn if a European city is selected to host the 2012 summer games.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

MALAYSIA: Elyas endorses MTCA and clubs

S. Selvam
July 2:

THE Malaysian Taekwondo Clubs Association (MTCA), the first national body to bring all taekwondo clubs under the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) system under one body, has been approved by Sports Commissioner Tan Sri Elyas Omar.

In fact, Elyas and his officers have also approved the application of 21 taekwondo clubs that sought registration with the Commissioner's office following Elyas' advice to do so on Feb 16.

"We have approved the MTCA and also 21 other taekwondo clubs. However, we have approved the applications based on an interim constitution and all the clubs and MTCA have six months to come up with a new and comprehensive constitution," said Elyas yesterday.

"The constitution for the MTCA, for instance, was drafted by seven or eight members, and once they have more members, it (constitution) may not reflect what the members want.

"As for the clubs, there are some errors in their constitution as well. Which is why, we have approved the applications based on an interim constitution."

The MTCA and clubs have six months to formulate their final constitution.

Taekwondo's (WTF-style) governing body in Malaysia, the Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA), was de-registered on May 6. The association, however, has taken the matter to the court.

Two weeks ago, the pro-tem committee of the MTCA, led by its president Chee Hock Choong appealed to Elyas to expedite the association's application.

Elyas, however, clarified that all that stood in the way of approving the MTCA application was an interim constitution which was subsequently provided by MTCA.

In the Feb 16 dialogue, Elyas proposed five models of governance to the de-registered MTA and its members, including forming a governing body for clubs, all of which granted clubs voting rights and direct affiliation to the national body.

And with even the Malaysian AAU (MAAU), the governing body for athletics in the country, looking at opening their affiliation and voting rights to a national body of clubs, Elyas' approval of the MTCA could well see a new chapter in Malaysian sports.

The Malaysian sports scene is traditionally a State-Federal system but with many State affiliates merely making up the numbers only, there have been calls for national bodies to open their affiliation to national organisations like Police, National Banks Sports Council, Prisons and a National Association of Clubs for that particular sport.

"We (Sports Commissioner's office) will organise a seminar in five months for these clubs and MTCA to present and discuss two or three models of standard constitution," added Elyas.

"In the meantime, these clubs and MTCA also can garner feedback from their members for a better constitution. After all these, they should have their respective AGMs (annual general meeting) to finalise their constitution."

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South Korea’s disgraced sports czar Un-yong released from jail

Friday July 1, 2005

SEOUL: Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Kim Un-yong (pic) was released from prison yesterday after serving only part of his two-year prison term for corruption.

Un-yong, 74, whose right eye was bandaged, made no comment to journalists as he left the detention centre in the southern suburbs of the capital.

One of the world's most powerful sports officials and one of the key IOC members until his dramatic fall from grace, Un-yong was originally sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a South Korean court in June last year.

He was convicted of embezzling 3.3 billion won (US$3.26mil) from sports bodies, including the World Taekwondo Federation which he had founded, and accepting 780 million won in bribes from business contacts.

Un-yong, a former South Korean National Assembly member and the highest IOC member to be jailed for corruption, has insisted he was wrongly convicted and jailed.

He was released in October to pursue an appeal which ended in defeat at South Korea's Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction in January but approved a lower court decision to reduce his jail term to two years.

Un-yong resigned as IOC vice president in May after IOC president Jacques Rogge informed him by letter that the IOC's executive body would recommend his expulsion at the IOC's 117th session in Singapore in July.

He is among some 700 prisoners who were released on parole yesterday, the justice ministry said.

“The ministry decided to release Un-yong under its regulations in which inmates are eligible for parole after serving one third of their prison sentence,” ministry official Chung Yoo-Chul said prior to Un-yong's release.

“In releasing him, we took into consideration that he will not be involved in criminal activity again.”

Un-yong played a key role in winning South Korea the right to host the 1988 Olympics and helped taekwondo become a medal sport in the 2000 Olympics.

His career as a sports administrator spans more than three decades after he rose to prominence in 1971 when he was named as head of South Korea's taekwondo association. He was co-opted to the IOC in 1986.

Un-yong was severely admonished over the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City bribery scandal that saw 10 IOC members ousted for corruption. – AFP

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Taekwondo may lose place in the Olympics

Thursday June 30, 2005

SEOUL: The high-kicking martial art taekwondo may lose its place in the international spotlight if it is it given the boot from the Olympics.

Taekwondo, baseball, softball and modern pentathlon are considered the sports most threatened with elimination from the Olympics in 2012 when the International Olympic Committee have a meeting in July in Singapore.

The president of the World Taekwondo Federation said he has mounted a big international campaign to win supporters for the martial art, while reforming the sport to make its judging easier to understand and its action more viewer friendly.

“It was time for us to change,” Choue Chung-won told foreign correspondents on Tuesday. “Our main goal has been transparency for our sport.”

Choue is looking to introduce electronics into the protectors taekwondo athletes wear during matches, which will indicate when they have been struck by a blow. This is aimed at clearing up questions of judging.

More points will be given for athletes who can deliver effective blows through difficult techniques. The time of the match has been shortened and the area of competition decreased in the hopes of increasing action.

Working against taekwondo, an Olympic sport since 2000, are the lack of media attention and its low television ratings.

There have also been charges of judging bias and the sport has also been tainted by its link to Kim Un-yong, a former IOC vice president who was jailed for corruption.

The IOC will hold a sport-by-sport secret ballot to determine which of its 28 sports to eliminate to cut down on the size of the summer Olympics. A sport must receive 50% support from the expected 115 IOC members to be retained.

Golf, karate, roller sports, seven-a-side rugby and squash are on an official waiting list to replace dropped sports. – Reuters

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