Choue Re-Elected as WTF Head
By Kang Seung-woo
Choue Chung-won has been reelected as president of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The 61-year-old beat WTF Vice President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Nat Indrapana of Thailand 104-45 with one abstention, in an election held in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday night (KST), earning the right to head the international governing body of the Korean martial art until 2013.
He first took over the WTF in June 2004, when former President Kim Un-yong was forced to step down after being arrested on charges of bribery, embezzlement and other irregularities, and was re-elected in May 2005 for a four-year term.
Four candidates ― WTF Vice President Park Soo-nam, Athanasios Pragalos, the president of the European Taekwondo Union (ETU), and Indrapana and Choue ― initially campaigned for the post, but Park and Pragalos later pulled out and openly supported Indrapana.
With Choue's reelection, the nation now has three chiefs of international sports federations - Kang Young-joong of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Park Sang-ha of the International Soft Tennis Federation (ISTF) and Choue.
"Now, it is time for us to put aside our differences and rivalry. We are one family sharing the same vision for the progress of taekwondo," said Choue, who was embraced by Indrapana shortly after the result was announced.
"Indrapana made some important suggestions for the future of taekwondo. With renewed spirit as one, we need to move forward for the further development of our sport of taekwondo.
"From this day, I will commit myself to carrying out my campaign pledges step by step. With the new leadership and new council, I wish to make the next four years exciting and memorable.
"Let us unite for the new chapter of taekwondo history and for the amazing evolution of taekwondo," Choue concluded.
Choue founded the department of taekwondo at Kyung Hee University in 1983 and served as president of the school from 1997 to 2003.
Meanwhile, Park Sun-jae, president of the Italian Taekwondo Federation; Ahmed Fouly, president of the African Taekwondo Union and Kamaladdin Heydarov, president of the Azerbaijan Taekwondo Federation were elected as vice presidents of the organization.