By Shim Jae-yun
WTF President Choue Chung-won said the world taekwondo governing body will make its all-out efforts to promote peace through the sport.
“As a global sport, taekwondo has been giving hope to 197 member nations around the world. We will unswervingly continue to promote peace and harmony through the sport,” Choue said in a recent interview with The Korea Times.
He said the WTF will also strive to spread on the occasion of the upcoming World Taekwondo Championships to be held in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. The tournament has attracted some 1,040 athletes from 149 countries around the world, the largest number ever.
After Choue first raised the idea of a “Taekwondo Peace Corps” at an international forum in Leuven Belgium in 2007, he proposed an expanded concept of a “Sports Peace Corps,” involving all summer Olympics sports.
As of February 2011, 418 taekwondo instructors have been dispatched to 63 different nations around the world on six occasions to teach the culture and virtues of taekwondo.
Each of dispatched team is comprised of four competent taekwondo university students: three masters who are qualified for taekwondo eduations and one person with proficient language skills to serve as an interpreter.
“With the motto of World Peace Through Taekwondo, the WTF has launched a program to better serve humanity. This is to make the most of taekwondo’s intrinsic value of inherent virtues and life skills that lead to the development and achievement of goals and dreams,” he said.
Choue urged WTF member national associations to join the organization’s bid to provide financial and technical support for the establishment of taekwondo programs in orphanages and refugee camps around the world.
Choue said taekwondo shone during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games which were held in Singapore from Aug. 15 to 19, 2010. For the WTF, the event was a great success in many respects as it drew 99 young athletes from 66 countries for taekwondo competitions.
“Out of the 66 participating countries, 26 won at least one medal at the taekwondo competition, showing an even level of technique among countries,” he said.
As part of its youth education programs, the WTF also launched the World Youth Taekwondo Camp in 2009 as an annual event. The WTF allowed Islamic women to wear hijabs during the competition in a bid to enhance peace and harmony regardless of religious differences via a 2009 vote.