{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1


52

AFRICA

209+1 GLOBAL MEMBERSHIP

World Taekwondo has 209 Member National Associations worldwide. The “+1” stands for refugees.

Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Comoros Cote d’Ivoire Congo Djibouti D.R. of the Congo Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya

Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Niger Nigeria Rwanda Sao Tome & Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa Sudan South Sudan Swaziland Chad Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zimbabwe Zambia

43

ASIA Afghanistan Bahrain Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Cambodia China Chinese Taipei Hong Kong India Indonesia Iran Iraq Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Korea Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Macao

Malaysia Mongolia Myanmar Nepal Oman Pakistan Palestine Philippines Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria Tajikistan Thailand Timor-Leste Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen

PAN AMERICA

50

EUROPE Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Great Britain Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Isle of Man Israel

45

Italy Kosovo Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro The Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal American Samoa Romania Australia Russia Cook Islands San Marino Fiji Serbia French Polynesia Slovakia Guam Slovenia Kiribati Spain Marshall Islands Sweden Micronesia Switzerland Nauru Turkey Ukraine

19

OCEANIA New Caledonia New Zealand Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu

Antigua & Barbuda Argentina Aruba Bahamas Barbados Belize Bermuda Bolivia Brazil British Virgin Islands Canada Cayman Islands Chile Colombia Costa Rica Dominican Republic Cuba Dominica Ecuador El Salvador French Guiana Grenada

Guadeloupe Guatemala Guyana Haiti Honduras Jamaica Martinique Mexico Curacao Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Puerto Rico St. Lucia St. Kitts & Nevis Surinam St. Vincent & the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago Uruguay U.S.A. Virgin Islands Venezuela


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Happy New Year to all members of the World Taekwondo family! 2018 was our “Year of Youth.” The Hammamet 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the International School Sport Federation Gymnasiade 2018 - where taekwondo made its first-ever appearance - provided showcases for our up-and-coming stars. Along with established stops in Manchester and Moscow, the 2018 Grand Prix Series also took place for the first time in Rome, Italy and Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, with the finals taking place in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The Grand Slam series in Wuxi, China, matured and moved triumphantly into its second year. Meanwhile, our poomsae athletes shone at the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, the World Teakwondo Beach Championships in Rhodes, Greece, and the Asian Games in Indonesia. On the social responsibility front, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation opened a new, fully dedicated facility at the Azraq Taekwondo Academy in Jordan for Syrian refugees. The academy has already produced three black belts, and three Olympic international federations have also committed to teach their sports alongside taekwondo in THF facilities, offering more opportunities to empower the powerless. As for sports diplomacy, we and the International Taekwon-Do Federation performed at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and in Pyongyang, North Korea. And we were especially privileged to demonstrate in front of Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Looking ahead, 2019 will be a fiercely competitive year as our athletes battle for slots at Tokyo 2020. The Antalya 2019 World Para Taekwondo Championships in Turkey, in February will be vital in promoting the global appeal of para taekwondo prior to its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships in Great Britain in May is also expected to be one of the best, if not the best, ever. Chiba in Japan, Moscow, Rome and Sofia in Bulgaria will host 2019’s Grand Prix series; the 2020 Olympic taekwondo test events will be held in Chiba. And the first-ever Islamic women’s open championships in Saudi Arabia will be organized in November, showing our commitment to full female participation. A strategic plan focusing on sustainability and value-based results will be published to guide WT programs, and we will focus on the standardization and expansion of WT’s development and education programmes. We are also developing athlete safeguarding and prevention programmes. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion on the Olympic Programme; the IOC’s decision on Sept. 4, 1994, propelled us to where we stand now. I look forward to celebrating that landmark event with you all this year - for it is you who have made all our achivements possible. Yours in taekwondo –

Chungwon Choue President, World Taekwondo

“2018 was our ‘Year of Youth.’ The Youth Olympics, World Juniors and Gymnasiade provided showcases for our up-and-coming stars.”


PART.2 AROUND WT 182 5th Annual Gala Awards 194 General Assembly Approves Competition Rule Changes 198 WT Council Approves ‘Hammamet Declaration,‘ Prioritizes Safe Sport 200 Wuxi, China, Chosen to Host 2021 World and Para Taekwondo Championships 202 WT Presents at WADA Anti-Doping Symposium 203 ITA, WT Sign Anti-Doping Partnership in Argentina 204 Anti-Doping in focus at Hammamet 205 Gentil Represents WT at WADA’s 1st Global Athlete Forum 206 Saudi Arabia to Promote Islamic Women’s Taekwondo Championship in 2019

2 World Taekwondo Global Membership

207 Indonesian President Visits Venue at 2018 Asian Games

4 President’s Message

208 WT President Makes Fujairah Crown Prince Honorary Black Belt 208 Honorary Black Belt Presented to IOC Member and Jordan NOC President

PART.1 COMPETITIONS

209 Development Funds Given to Cambodian Federation / Booyoung Scholarships Awarded 10 Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

210 On Holy Ground: Taekwondo Soars in Heart of Vatican

16 ‘Be True, Be You:’ Clean Sport Taught on WT Focus Day

214 WT, ITF Agree to Push Foward with Taekwondo’s Global Integration

17 Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Medal Table

215 WT, ITF Meet in Wuxi on Grand Slam Sidelines

18 Bach in Buenos Aires: Taekwondo Welcomes IOC Chief to Venue

216 ‘Taekwonplomacy:’ Full-Power Peace Message Delivered in Pyongyang

26 Largest-Ever World Taekwondo Junior Championships

218 Mexican Taekwondo Leader Focuses on Grass-roots Development

32 Speechless but Skilled: Jordyn Smith

219 Nat Indrapana, Former WT Vice President and IOC Member, Passes

34 Hossein ‘The Grasshopper’ Lotfi: Leaping to New Heights with World Championship Gold

220 World Taekwondo Regional Training Center Opens in Rome

36 Anastasija Zolotic Grabs Gold in Spectacular Style

221 WT Wuxi Center Opens Doors to World

40 Taekwondo Debuts at Gymnasiade in Morocco

222 ‘Wuxi Hot, Taekwondo Hot:’ Forum Offers Pointers to Taekwondo’s Future

42 Roma 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

224 World Taekwondo Continental Unions Presidents’ Messages

44 Rome’s Stunning Center Provides Classic Backdrop for WT Demo Team 45 Roma 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Press Conference Held at CONI Headquarters

Part.3 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

55 Gymnastics’ Loss, Taekwondo’s Gain: Russia’s Larin Strikes Gold in Rome 56 Zhang Grabs Gold at Debut Grand Prix 58 Moscow 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

228 Dedicated Taekwondo Facility Opens at Azraq Academy

68 Matea Jelic: Precision Weapon

231 Jordanian Federation, THF, Cooperate in Azraq Camp

72 Jun Jang: Team Korea’s ‘Super Rookie’ Battles into the Big League

232 Grass Getting Greener at Azraq Taekwondo Academy

76 Irem Yaman: ‘The Gold Hunter’ 80 Maksim Khramtcov: Rise of the ‘Red Machine’ 84 Taoyuan 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix 94 Shuyin Zheng: Team China’s ‘Beautiful Giraffe’ Hates to Spin, Loves to Win 98 For Jesus Tortosa Cabrera, Taekwondo is a Family Affair 102 Paige “McFierce” McPherson Ends Team USA’s Grand Prix Gold Medal Drought 106 Manchester 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix 107 Taekwondo Online: Grand Prix Meets Virtual Grand Prix 115 Maisie Catt Thrills with Skills 116 Fujairah 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final 122 Dae-hoon Lee: Leading Man 126 Richard Andre Ordemann: Flying Under the Radar

CONTENTS

234 Taekwondo Malaysia Organizes Fundraising Run for Refugees 236 Ethiopia Chosen as Next Location for THF Refugee Assistance Initiative 237 Monaco’s Prince Albert II Signs THF’s International Petition 238 Choue Invites IFs to Join Hands with THF on Humanitarian Front 240 THF, WT, United World Wrestling to Join Hands in Teaching Refugees 241 International Table Tennis Federation to Work with WT, THF to Assist Refugees 242 Badminton Joins Taekwondo in Humanitarian Mission 243 Global Taekwondo Grassroots Raises Money for THF 243 THF, Rome and Italian Taekwondo Sign Agreement to Work Together 244 World Taekwondo Reinforces Humanitarian Commitment on World Refugee Day 244 Huamin Donations Enable Azraq Academy, Future THF Projects in Djibouti and Rwanda 245 Shandong Taishan Paints Azraq Green

134 Ksenia Choucha and Mohamed Adel Abdelfattah: Inspired Positivity Animates Refs of Year

245 Fujairah Crown Prince Makes Generous Donation to THF

138 Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships

246 First-Ever Refugee Team to Compete at G1 Competition Takes Home 5 Medals

146 Rhodes 2018 World Taekwondo Beach Championships

247 Sustainability in Action: Azraq Produces 2nd and 3rd Black Belts

154 Fujairah 2018 World Taekwondo Team Championships

248 2018 Jeju World Peace Walkathon Works for Powerless

160 Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships

250 THF Opens New Taekwondo School for Refugees in Niger

164 Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

252 Taekwondo in Spotlight at Inaugural Paris Peace Forum

174 World Taekwondo Continental Union Championships

253 Event Calendar 2019


Part.1

COMPETITIONS


BUENOS AIRES

2018 YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES Buenos Aires, Argentina

Oct. 7-11, 2018 Russia, Iran and Korea are top 3 as taekwondo’s junior Olympic stars shine in Argentina Russia, Iran and Korea captured the top three spots in the taekwondo competition of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. The event took place in Buenos Aires’ Parque Polideportivo Roca, with a per-

fect gender split of 50 female and 50 male players, from 58 countries, fighting in 10 weight categories. The WT referee corps for the Games also followed the 50-50 gender split the federation first introduced at Rio in 2016.

When the smoke had cleared, medals had gone to players from 24 different countries, showing the ever-expanding global distribution of elite-level taekwondo skills.

Day 1

Russia Dominates on Opening Day Russia took home both gold medals on offer on an exciting opening day of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games with Polina Shcherbakova and Dmitrii Shishko winning in the women’s -44kg and men’s -48kg, respectively. In the women’s -44kg, 17-yearold Shcherbakova overcame Korea’s 16-year-old Mireu Kang 12-6 in the final to take the top honors. The opening round was a tense affair with both fighters wary of giving away any early points

10

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

as it finished 0-0. Shcherbakova took the initiative in the second round to go into the third round 4-1 up. Kang tried to fight back in the final round but it was not enough, and Shcherbakova won the match 12-6. Lena Stojkovic of Croatia and Mexico’s Alicia Monserrat Rodriguez Fuentes won the bronze medals. In the men’s -48kg, 15-year-old Shishko was paired against 16-year-old Ulugbek Rashitov from Uzbekistan

in the final. The older fighter came out the stronger and finished the first round with a 4-0 lead. However, Shishko showed great strength of character to fight back and take a two-point lead into the final round. With the score 8-6 to Shishko, Rashitov fought valiantly to regain his lead but the Russian held on and won the match 11-8. The bronze medals were shared between Seong-bin Im of Korea and Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi of Tunisia.

Competitions

11


Day 3

Thailand and Korea Take Top Honors

Day 2

Russia’s Gold Streak Continues Russia maintained their 100 percent record start at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they won gold in both the women’s -49kg and the men’s -55kg on day two of the taekwondo competition. Elizaveta Ryadninskaya and Georgii Popov in the women’s -49kg and men’s -55kg respectively followed in their compatriots’ footsteps from last night, as they both claimed gold. China’s Zihan Cao and Korea’s Yeji Lee won the bronze medals. In the men’s -55kg, Popov came up against Korea’s Kang-min Kim in the final. In one of the highest-scoring matches of the Games, Popov finished the first round 15-10 up. The two athletes maintained their attacking style in the second round with both landing a number of successful kicks to take the score to 25-21 to Popov. With both athletes tired, the third round did not live up to the previous rounds in terms of scoring but was no less exciting. The match finished 33-26 to Popov. The bronze medals were won by Jordan’s Zaid Mustafa Mahmoud Abdul Kareem and Niger’s Mahamadou Maharana Amadou.

12

Thailand and Korea got their first taste of gold at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games on a thrilling third day of competition. Thailand’s Kanthida Saengsin won gold in the women’s -55kg while Korea’s Won-hee Cho secured gold in the men’s -63kg. Their victories brought an end to Russia’s winning streak and demonstrated yet again the strength of taekwondo around the world. Saengsin met Safia Salih from Morocco in the women’s final. Neither fighter landed a point in the first round as both fighters defended well. In the second round, defence continued to outdo attack as Salih finished the round 2-1 up. The final and decisive round saw an increase in the tempo as both fighters pushed for the win. In the end, it was Saengsin who was able to come out on top and win the match 10-6. Sandy Camila Leite Macedo from Brazil and Fani Tzeli of Greece won the bronze medals. In the men’s -63kg, Cho met Thailand’s Nareupong Thepsen. The two evenly matched fighters could not be separated after the first round as it finished 3-3. Thepsen edged the second round to take a 9-7 lead into the final round. Cho went on the attack from the onset in the final round and built a convincing lead to win the match 21-16. Javad Aghayev from Azerbaijan and Italy’s Gabriele Caulo won the bronze medals.

13


Day 4

Iran Strikes Double Gold Iran won both gold medals on offer on day four of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games with Yalda Valinejad winning the women’s -63kg and Ali Eshkevarian winning the men’s -73kg. After three days of enthralling taekwondo competition, spectators were treated to yet another night of action. Previously, fans had queued up with the hope of being able to watch the taekwondo stars of the future. Valinejad faced Nadica Bozanic from Serbia in the women’s -63kg final. Both started the match well as they attempted to score while not leaving themselves vulnerable to counter attacks. The score after the first round reflected the even nature of the fight, with Bozanic ahead by one point, 5-4. Valinejad came out strongly in the second round and landed a number of hits without reply to open up a three-point lead over Bozanic. Buoyed by the success of the previous round, Valinejad kept up the pressure in the final round. Both fighters contributed to an exciting ending as the scores climbed, but Bozanic was not able to close the gap and Valinejad won the fight 23-17. Assunta Cennamo from Italy and Leslie Xcaret Soltero Garcia from Mexico won the bronze medals. In the men’s final, Eshkevarian came up against Belgium’s Badr Achab. The two fighters produced one of the tensest finals. The first round set the tone for the match with both fighters scoring three points each. In the second round Achab just edged it, landing one more point to give him an 8-7 lead. It was more of the same in the final round with both fighters landing successful kicks. With seconds to go, the match remained very much in the balance, but Eshkevarian did just enough to come out on top and won the match 17-16. Egypt’s Eyad Adel Mahmoud and Ecuador’s Darlyn Padilla won the men’s bronze medals.

14

Day 5

Iran Adds to Medal Tally, Morocco Gets Gold

Iran found themselves on the podium again on day five of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games with Mohammad Ali Khosravi winning the men’s +73kg whilst Kimia Hemati finished second to Morocco’s Fatima-Ezzahra Aboufaras in the women’s +63kg. Aboufaras and Hemati were involved in a tight match in the women’s +63kg final with the scores even at 2-2 after the opening two rounds.

However, spectators were in for a wicked finale as both athletes were determined to go for the win, drawing 14-14, but it was Aboufaras who finally came out on top with a 18-16 win to bag Morocco’s first gold medal at Buenos Aires 2018. Kristina Adebaio from Russia and Wenzhe Mu from China won the bronze medals. Next up was the men’s +73kg final, which saw Iran’s Mohammad Ali

Khosravi face Chinese Taipei’s MengEn Lee in what turned out to be a very even match. With the first round ending 0-0, Khosravi managed to edge out the second round 1-0. The third round ended in another draw at 1-1 meaning Iran secured another gold medal after winning both of yesterday’s finals. Nisar Ahmad Abdul Rahimzai from Afghanistan and Ethan McClymont from Canada won the bronze medals.

15


BUENOS AIRES 2018 YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES MEDAL TABLE

MEN’S DIVISION

‘Be True, Be You:’ Clean Sport Taught on WT Focus Day

Sebastian Eduardo Crismanich of Argentina and Jade Jones of Great Britian were the Athlete Role Models in Buenos Aires.

16

On 7 and 11 Oct. at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, World Taekwondo hosted Focus Days aimed at educating rising taekwondo stars on the importance of anti-doping. Both two-hour sessions took place in the Youth Olympic Village Hall and involved a series of short presentations from leading figures in the anti-doping and anti-manipulation industries. The young athletes learnt to respect the sport, the opponent, the team and anyone that takes part in the competition - ideas that align with World Taekwondo’s key motto, “Peace is more precious than triumph.” Olympian, World Taekwondo Sport Integrity Ambassador and Athletes Committee Co-Chair Pascal Gentil gave a talk about the importance of Sport Integrity. Gentil explained that a sporting career should involve being honest, clean, transparent and true to oneself during competition. The young athletes were also able to interact with and learn from taekwondo and Olympic role models, Jade Jones and Sebastian Crismanich, who themselves have enjoyed successful and clean taekwondo careers. Other key figures and sporting icons involved in the informative sessions included: Olympic Movement Unit on Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions and Ethics and Compliance Office of IOC Christelle Correia; Senior Manager of Education at WADA Tony Cunningham; and World Taekwondo Sustainability Committee Chair Giovanni di Cola. Under the banner “Be True, Be You,” World Taekwondo Focus Days will ensure that our juniors stay on track for future success, whilst ensuring that our sport stays clean and manipulation free.

WOMEN’S DIVISION

-48kg

-44kg

GOLD

SHISHKO Dmitrii

SILVER

RASHITOV Ulugbek

RUS

GOLD

SHCHERBAKOVA Polina KANG Mi-reu

RUS

UZB

SILVER

BRONZE IM Seong-bin

KOR

BRONZE STOJKOVIC Lena

CRO

BRONZE JENDOUBI Mohamed Khalil

TUN

BRONZE RODRIGUEZ FUENTES Alicia Monserrat

MEX

-55kg

KOR

-49kg

GOLD

POPOV Georgii

RUS

GOLD

RYADNINSKAYA Elizaveta

SILVER

KIM Kang-min

ZOLOTIC Anastasija

RUS

KOR

SILVER

BRONZE ABDUL KAREEM Zaid Mustafa Mahmoud

JOR

BRONZE CAO Zihan

CHN

BRONZE AMADOU T Mahamadou Maharana

NIG

BRONZE LEE Ye-ji

KOR

-63kg

USA

-55kg

GOLD

CHO Won-hee

KOR

GOLD

SAENGSIN Kanthida

THA

SILVER

THEPSEN Nareupong

THA

SILVER

SALIH Safia

MAR

BRONZE AGHAYEV Javad

AZE

BRONZE LEITE MACEDO Sandy Camila

BRA

BRONZE CAULO Gabriele

ITA

BRONZE TZELI Fani

GRE

-73kg

-63kg

GOLD

ESHKEVARIAN Ali

IRI

SILVER

ACHAB Badr

GOLD

VALINEJAD Yalda

IRI

BEL

SILVER

BOZANIC Nadica

SRB

BRONZE PADILLA Darlyn

ECU

BRONZE CENNAMO Assunta

BRONZE ADEL MAHMOUD Eyad

EGY

BRONZE SOLTERO GARCIA Leslie Xcaret

+73kg

ITA MEX

+63kg

GOLD

KHOSRAVI Mohammad Ali

IRI

SILVER

LEE Meng-En

GOLD

ABOUFARAS Fatima-Ezzahra

TPE

SILVER

HEMATI Kimia

BRONZE ABDUL RAHIMZAI Nisar Ahmad

AFG

BRONZE MU Wenzhe

CHN

BRONZE McCLYMONT Ethan

CAN

BRONZE ADEBAIO Kristina

RUS

MAR IRI

17


Bach in Buenos Aires: Taekwondo Welcomes IOC Chief to Venue Thomas Bach joined WT President Chungwon Choue to check out the action and meet some of taekwondo’s up-and-coming star athletes

18

On the last day of competition, World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue welcomed IOC President Thomas Bach to the Parque Polideportivo Roca, the taekwondo venue at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where the pair watched the sport’s future stars compete to be crowned Youth Olympic Champions. Bach, accompanied by IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell, joined Choue and World Taekwondo Secretary General Hoss Rafaty to watch the men’s and women’s semi-finals and finals. “With these young athletes, taekwondo certainly has a bright future,” Bach said. “It is amazing how fast it is developing, especially with the new judging system. We can see why it is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.” “It was an honour to welcome IOC President Bach to our taekwondo venue this evening,” Choue said. “Our young athletes showcased all the speed, skill and athleticism that taekwondo is known for. “ Buenos Aires 2018 produced multiple enthralling matches as a total of 100 taekwondo athletes (50 male and 50 female) from 58 countries competed for gold in 10 weight categories. World Taekwondo’s commitment to gender equality goes beyond a 50:50 ratio of male and female athletes; the federation also ensured an equal gender split of international referees at Buenos Aires 2018 — something that was first introduced at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Medals were won by 24 different countries, demonstrating the global strength of taekwondo. Fans were also treated to a number of unexpected results. Most notable was Mahamadou Maharana Amadou of Niger who won a bronze medal despite having qualified for the competition as a wild card. “These athletes are the future of our sport and the future of the Olympic Movement and so it is critical that they are given the best possible opportunities to develop,” Choue said.

19


Day1 Golds for Korea, Great Britain and Iran

-42kg

LARGEST-EVER WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Almost 1,000 of taekwondo’s next generation stars, hailing from 118 nations, took to the mats at La Salle Couverte in Hammamet, Tunisia, for World Taekwondo’s biggest-ever Junior World Championships. When the smoke cleared, Russia was on top in the women’s division, while Iran took the men’s crown.

Hammamet, Tunisia

April 9-13, 2018

26

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

The women -42kg final was contested by Korea’s Mi-reu Kang and Turkey’s Emine Gogebakan. Gogebakan started the round strongly, landing three body kicks in quick succession giving her an early 6-0 lead. However, Kang fought back to take a 7-6 lead, before landing a series of kicks to the trunk protector in the final 30 seconds. Kang finished the round 17-6 up. In the second round, Kang started where she left off. She continued with front foot attacks, landing a flurry of kicks. Gogebakan fought back but Kang proved too strong and extended her lead to 20 points just before the end of the second round to win the gold medal. The match finished 30-10. Bronzes went to Russia’s Larisa Medvedeva and Iran’s Mobina Kalivand.

-44kg With Great Britain’s Jordyn Smith go ing up against Thailand’s Chu Jongkolrattanawattana, neither fighter wanted to give anything away in the opening exchanges with both defending well; it finished 0-0. Both surged out in the second, hoping to land the first point. Smith forced Jongkolrattanawattana off the mats, giving her a 1-0 lead. Jongkolrattanawattana fought back in with a kick to the trunk protector only to give away a point through gamjeom. The score remained 2-2 for much of the round before Smith executed a head-body kick combination to go 7-2 up; a gamjeom gave her a second round lead of 8-2. In the final round, Smith extended her lead to 19-2. Jongkolrattanawattana increased the intensity of her attack to reduce the gap, but ultimately it was too big a lead to overcome: Smith won 22-13. Bronzes were shared by Russia’s Anastasiia Artamonova and Lena Stojkovic from Croatia.

-45kg Things got off to a frantic start as Iran’s Hossein Lotfi faced Amirbek Turaev from Uzbekistan, with Lotfi landing a head kick within the first five seconds, and a body kick moments later, but was pegged back with a gamjeom. As both fighters went on the attack and attempted to find an opening, it was Lotfi who landed another head shot and several body kicks to end the first round 12-2. In the second round, both fighters defended ably and it was not until there were 30 seconds remaining that the first score of the round was made as Turaev received a gamjeom for stepping out of the octagon. With little more than 10 seconds remaining it looked like the match was headed for a third round, but Lotfi finished decisively by landing two head kicks and a kick to the trunk protector to take the score to 23-2, taking gold courtesy of his 20-point lead. Bronze medals were won by India’s Kanha Mainali and Korea’s Jang-hoe Lee.

-48kg The last final of the day was fought between Gorkem Polat of Turkey and Korea’s Jin-ho Kim. Neither fighter was able to score in the opening exchanges, but with 30 seconds remaining, Kim landed a perfectly timed punch, then a gamjeom doubled his lead. In the second round, Kim once again used the punch to good effect and went 6-0 up with a kick to the trunk protector and a gamjeom. In the final round Polat continued to attempt to break down Kim’s resolute defence but Kim proved elusive and the match finished 10-0. Russia’s Dmitrii Shishko, Thailand’s Peerakit Tharanantaseth shared bronzes.

Competitions

27


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day2 Thi Kim Ngan Ho defends title, wins second gold

-46kg Kanrawee Sompan of Thailand faced Aaliyah Powell of Great Britain. Sompan took an early lead in the first when Powell received a gamjeom for stepping off the court. However, Powell fought back with a series of front-leg kicks to the trunk protector to take the score to 8-1 in the second round. From there Powell never looked like losing her lead. Even though Sompan tried to attack, Powell was too strong defensively. In a frantic final round, Powell eased to victory by landing consecutive kicks to Sompan’s trunk. The fight ended 5-21, with Powell claiming another gold for Great Britain. The bronze medals were shared by Lea Anais Karmely of Germany and Chaima Toumi of Tunisia.

-49kg Both athletes played a cagey game in the first round as defending champ Thi Kim Ngan Ho of Vietnam fought Josipa Kafadar from Canada; only in the final 20 seconds did Kafadar go 2-0 up via a kick to the trunk protector. The second round continued in a similar, hard-fought manner. However, in the last 20 seconds, Ho went on the attack and landed a series of kicks to her opponent’s trunk before conceding a gamjeom for stepping out of the boundary. Ho took a 3-6 lead into the final round. Ho landed a kick early on in the third to make the score 3-8. Kafadar then went on the attack and successfully forced Ho into conceding four gamjeoms. The closing stages were tense, but Ho held on to claim a 7-8 victory and her second Junior Worlds gold medal. Bronze medals were claimed by Laura Goebel of Germany and Anna Kazarnovskaia of Russia.

28

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

-51kg The contestants were Khanoghlan Karimov of Azerbaijan and Iran’s Amir Valipour. The fight exploded in to action as Karimov landed a kick to his opponent’s head within the first 15 seconds to take a 3-0 lead. Valipour fought back late on with a punch and kick combination to the trunk to draw the scores level at 3-3. The second round was not as closely contested, as Valipour took an 8-3 lead by landing a punch followed by two consecutive kicks to the trunk. From there Valipour made sure of his lead, despite receiving two gamjeoms in the final round. A last kick to the head by Valipour and the gold was his. The fight ended 4-13 with another great result for Team Iran, who have proved a powerhouse at this competition. Po-Kai Lai from Chinese Taipei and Ulugbek Rashitov of Uzbekistan won the bronze medals.

-55kg Iran’s Amir Sina Bakhtiari battled Jose Luis Acuna from Argentina, with Bakhtiari first forcing Acuna into conceding a gamjeom and then landing to the trunk followed by another to the head, ending the round 6-0 up. The second round was more open. Acuna fought back to make the score 6-3 via a punch and by forcing Bakhtiari into conceding two gamjeoms. Bakhtiari responded by landing a kick to the head. Both fighters were connecting to the body; the score was 12-6 at the end of the second. Bakhtiari conceded two early gamjeoms in the third before landing a punch and kick to increase his lead to 16-8. The final stages were frantic as both fighters gave their all. Both conceded multiple gamjeoms for stepping out and being knocked down. In the end though, Bakhtiari won 20-10. Georgy Popov of Russia and Mahamadou Amadou of Niger took home the bronzes.

Day3 Iran, Azerbaijan, USA and Chinese Taipei claim gold

-52kg

-59kg Iran’s Hamed Asghari Mahiabadi took on Arslan Demir of Turkey, and Mahiabadi took an early 6-0 lead with a series of kicks to the trunk, but was then forced into conceding three gamjeoms. Even so, Mahiabadi managed to close out the first round with the board at 9-5. In the second round, Mahiabadi extended his lead emphatically by landing a punch and two kicks to the trunk of his opponent. In the third round, Demir tried to fight back, but Mahiabadi was too strong defensively. In the last 30 seconds, Mahiabadi made sure of his gold by landing a combination of kicks to both head and body, sealing a decisive 29-9 win. The Buenos Aires gold added to his previous gold from Nanjing 2014. Young-jun Lee of Korea and Gabriel Ramos of Brazil claimed the bronze medals.

As Anastasija Zolotic of the United States took on Uzbekistan’s Ozoda Sobirjonova, the first started with Zolotic landing a body kick. Sobirjonova responded, striking both trunk and head to go 2-5 up. Zolotic evened the score with a reverse hook kick to the head, then began to stamp her authority, ending the round 14-5 up. The second was even more exciting, but Zolotic held a narrow 24-20 lead. In the third, Sobirjonova fought back, landing to the head and then forcing her opponent off the mats, bringing the score to 27-26. Zolotic looked to have landed a killer blow to the body, but Sobirjonova responded seconds later to the trunk and forced Zolotic into conceding a gamjeom. In golden point, -63kg the American claimed victory with an emphatic head kick. Gabriele Caulo of Italy did battle with Bronzes went to Vanessa Beckstein of Ger- Javad Aghayev of Azerbaijan, and it was many and Gabriela Briskarova of Slovakia. Aghayev who landed the first blow after 30 seconds with a kick to the head. He then forced his opponent to concede a -55kg gamjeom by knocking him over. Caulo forced two penalties of his own, but Anastasiia Nosova of Russia and ChiaAghayev responded with a kick to the Ling Lo of Chinese Taipei both showed trunk to end Round 1 6-2 up. Both fightstrong defenses in the opening round; ers landed punches in the second, and the first points were won by Lo with a Caulo started to close the gap by landhead kick. She followed up with another ing consecutive body kicks. However, impressive kick to the head, only for it to Aghayev ended the round with a narrow be cancelled out by Nosova. Lo ended 9-8 lead. Caulo attacked aggressively in the round by landing a front-leg kick to the opening stages of Round 3. forcing the trunk to take an 8-3 lead. In the last Aghayev into conceding a gamjeom. round, Nosova tried to respond and Aghayev landed a punch in the dying quickly forced her opponent into conseconds, ending the fight and winning ceding two gamjeoms in a row. However, gold with a one-point lead, 14-13. Lo wouldn’t let this faze her. She landed Erfan Moradi of Iran and Nedzad Husic three consecutive kicks to the trunk to of Bosnia and Herzegovina won bronzes. secure her second World Junior Championships gold medal as the battle ended 15-6 in her favor. Fani Tzeli of Greece and Junli Yang of China won bronzes. Competitions

29


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day4 Iran and Serbia share golds

-59kg Serbia’s Serdja Stevic and Korea’s Ju-a Park of Korea exploded into action as Park landed two punches followed by a kick to the trunk within the first 10 seconds. Stevic managed to compose herself and landed three front kicks to the trunk to take the lead. The first round ended frantically, with Stevic ahead, 8-5. Round 2 was exhilarating. Both fighters gave everything; both landed multiple kicks and punches to the head, but it was Stevic who took a narrow 17-15 lead. In the third round, both fighters showed incredible courage and attacking prowess. However, in the final minute of the match Stevic developed an uncatchable lead with a combination of impressive kicks to the head and trunk, winning match and gold 32-23. Russia’s Liliia Khuzina and Macedonia’s Anamarija Georgievska took bronzes.

-63kg Nadica Bozanic of Serbia and Nika Klepac of Croatia started with intent; Klepac landed an early punch and kick to the trunk followed by another kick to the head to go 6-0 up after 30 seconds. Bozanic responded with a kick to the trunk only for it to be cancelled out by Klepac. Bozanic had work ahead of her as she went into the second round trailing 8-2. However, she closed the gap to 7-8 with an early kick to the head followed by another to the trunk 10 seconds later. Klepac had an 8-7 lead at the end of Round 2. In the last round, Bozanic levelled the score by forcing Klepac into conceding a gamjeon. The fight was tied until the last 30 seconds when Bozanic landed to the head, then decisively put the fight out of reach with another kick and punch to the trunk. This was the comeback of the

30

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

tournament as Bozanic claimed gold. Bronzes were won by Yu-jin Jang of Korea and Celine Schmidt of Germany.

-68kg As Mahdi Mohammad Emadi of Iran and CJ Nickolas of the US got it on, both started tentatively before Emadi landed a kick to the trunk - only for Nickolas to immediately close the gap with a punch. Nickolas attempted a volley of spin kicks, but received consecutive gamjeons for falling. Round 1 ended with Emadi 5-1 up. Nickolas composed himself in the second as both fighters went defensive; neither managed a point. Emadi looked to have put the fight out of reach with a series of kicks in the early stages of the final round, but Nickolas managed to fight his way back. With 30 seconds left, Emadi held a 13-8 lead and held his nerve to take an impressive 18-10 victory against a quality opponent. Dusan Bozanic of Serbia and Ivan Paulouski of Belarus claimed the bronzes.

-73kg With Ali Eshkevarian of Iran taking on Adrian Wojtkowiak of Poland, Eshkevarian conceded an early gamjeon, but composed himself enough to land a series of kicks to the head and trunk immediately. Wojtkowiak then landed an impressive reverse hook kick, but Eshkevarian responded once more to take a 14-3 lead into the second round. Round 2 continued in similar fashion as Eshkevarian landed four kicks to the trunk within 20 seconds. Wojtkowiak looked to react but Eshkevarian was too strong all round. The Iranian landed another kick to the trunk in the last 5 seconds to put the fight to bed, ending the round 20 points up, giving him the win and the gold on point difference: 26-6. Badr Achab of Belgium and Vladyslav Yerko of Ukraine won the bronze medals.

Day5 Tourney ends with Russia, Iran on top in female, male divisions

-68kg Alena Viana of the US and Althea Laurin of France began tentatively as no points were scored within the first minute. Laurin took a 2-0 lead by forcing Viana into conceding two gamjeons. Laurin then extended her lead in the final second of the first round with a perfectly timed kick to the head. Laurin continued in a similar fashion in round two as she landed an early front kick to the trunk and looked to be out of sight: The final round began with the score at 9-1 in Laurin’s favour. Viana aggressively tried to reduce the deficit as she landed an early kick to the head, but Laurin remained composed and extended her lead with another three kicks to the head. The end result was Laurin claimed the gold medal with a final score of 20-4. The bronzes were won by Valeriia Mokeeva of Russia and Germany’s Darija Husovic.

+68kg Kristina Adebaio of Russia and Wenzhe Mu of China started off cautious and defensive in the first; Adebaio scored the only point of the round with a punch. The fight then looked to come alive in the early stages of the second as Adebaio landed a well-timed kick to the head to put her 4-0 up. Mu responded with consecutive punches to the trunk. Both fighters were in with a chance of winning, with the scores close at 5-3 in Adebaio’s favour going into the final round. Mu levelled the scores early in the third to create a nerve-racking, yet exciting, final minute. But it was Adebaio who claimed gold as she landed a punch and kick to the trunk. The fight ended 8-5 in the Russian’s favour.

Chieh-Yu Lin of Chinese Taipei and Isabeau Van Droffelaar of the Netherlands won the bronze medals.

-78kg With Mohammad Ali Khosravi of Iran facing off against Jin-hong Lim of Korea, the bout exploded into life as Lim landed a powerful kick to the trunk. Khosravi responded by landing two consecutive kicks to the head, followed by a combination of shots to the body, then each fighter suffered gamjeons for falling. Round 1 ended with Khosravi 13-8 up. Early in the second, Lim reduced the deficit by landing to the trunk; both then landed multiple kicks and punches in a furious ten-second fracas. Round 2 ended 24-17 in Khosravi’s favour. In the third, Khosravi asserted his superiority, landing three head kicks to put the fight well beyond Lim’s reach. The fight ended 41-21 to the Iranian. Zhengyang Li of China and Ali Mabrouk S Almabrouk of Saudi Arabia claimed the bronze medals on offer.

+78kg The battle betwen Emre Kutalmis Atesli of Turkey and Meng-En Lee of Chinese Taipei started with Asteli taking a 3-0 lead with consecutive punches, only for Lee to close the gap in the dying seconds. The second round began with intensity as both fighters landed kicks, with Lee closing the gap to just two points. This meant both fighters were still in with a chance of gold in the final round. Asteli looked to claim victory with a punch; Lee responded immediately with a kick to the body. Asteli found himself one point up with 20 seconds to spare and remained composed and defensively strong, narrowly winning the fight 9-8. Bronzes were claimed by Nima Mehrali of Iran and Patrik Pereira Cardoso of Brazil.

Competitions

31


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS Athlete in Focus

Speechless but Skilled:

Jordyn Smith

Could schoolgirl Jordyn Smith be Team GB’s next Jade Jones or Bianca Walkden?

32

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

F

or most teenagers, keeping up with school work and exams can be difficult enough. For Great Britain’s newly crowned junior world champion, Jordyn Smith, that is only half the challenge. Two days at school in her hometown of Falkirk, Scotland, then three days in Manchester, England, where she trains with GB Taekwondo’s World Class Performance Programme make up Jordyn’s week. However, she appears to be striking the perfect balance as she demonstrated this week at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Hammamet, Tunisia, where she won gold in the -44kg weight category. “I’m just doing it part-time at the moment. Once my exams are finished in May I’ll be training five times a week,” she said. “All the staff at GB Taekwondo are really helpful and really supportive of the school. I always have meetings at the start of the week so I can slot in times when I can do my study as well as training.” The training paid off. And it was clear just how much the gold medal at the championships meant to her: Having overcome Thailand’s Chu Jongkolrattanawattana in the final, Smith dropped to her knees with joy before running round the court with the Union Flag flying behind her. A day later and she had still not yet come to terms with her win. “It has still not really sunk in yet,” she said. “It’s a bit of a shock. Everyone is asking me how I feel and I don’t know what to say!” That is understandable. Smith has been practicing taekwondo since she was four, so the title may still feel like a dream. “I remember going into my first session and being scared of all the loud shouts and the kicks. I used to always run out and hide behind my Dad. But I remember a couple of weeks in, my Dad said this is the last time I’m taking you if you don’t like it. There must have been something in me that day because I said, ‘No, I want to do it.’ I think as long as you enjoy the sport then definitely do it.” That decision paid off for Jordyn, who said she is now looking forward to moving up. “I can fight seniors this year and I’m hoping to fight some senior events and collect some ranking points,” she said. “Next year - that’s when I officially turn senior.” She does not lack role models: Team GB is full of stars. “I watch them and their commitment to the sport is just amazing,” she said. “Sometimes I watch them and I just think ‘Wow!’” And next? “Ever since I was little, Tokyo was my dream,” she said. “It might be a bit of a big statement right now, but it’s still possible.”

Competitions

33


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Athlete in Focus

Hossein ‘The Grasshopper’ Lotfi: Leaping to New Heights with World Championship Gold He is still a junior, but this Iranian head hunter has his eyes aimed at Tokyo 2020

It was a good week for Team Iran in Tunisia. At the Qualification Tournament for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, the country won six qualification quotas – the joint most of any nation – and after Day 3 of the World Junior Championships they led the overall medal table with four gold medals and two bronze. Hossein Lotfi is one of Iran’s new batch of exciting young taekwondo fighters. Nicknamed “The Grasshopper” because of his long reach with his front leg, Hossein won gold in the male -45kg category at the World Junior Championships in Hammamet in impressive fashion. “I was confident in myself,” he said, speaking 48 hours after winning his medal. “I came to perform to the best of my abilities.” He did that - making full use of that trademark front leg to land a number of head kicks in the final and secure victory within two rounds after building a 20-point lead. “I feel quite excellent! It is a reward for all the hard work that I have put into this,” he said. But the teenager is not ready to rest on his laurels and is already focusing on improving and reaching new heights. “All that is in my mind right now is just to train and work harder. In the longer term it is a dream to join the senior team for the 2020 Olympics. I know that I need to gain bodily strength and become stronger in order to properly compete at the senior level.” One of his heroes is legendary Iranian fighter and two-time Olympic champion, Hadi Saei. “It is quite a challenge to pick [a role model] in Iran because we have a lot of taekwondo heroes in the country. However, personally I would have to say Hadi Saei. I know all of his fights by heart! I especially love the video in the 2004 Olympic final where he won gold with three seconds to spare.” In Saei, Lofit has an inspirational athlete to follow. If he can achieve half the success of his idol, The Grasshopper will be jumping for joy.

34

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

35


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Athlete in Focus

Anastasija Zolotic Grabs Gold in Spectacular Style American fighter does not usually win in golden round, but at Junior Worlds, her head kick did the business just when she needed it to

A

huge, screaming crowd can be intimidating for even the most courageous of athletes. However, it acted as a source of motivation for Team USA’s newly crowned Junior World Champion, Anastasija Zolotic. Anastasija’s coach, Dennis White, explained that the crowd at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships energized the American athlete and pushed her to claim the gold medal in the women’s -52kg. “Even though the large crowd was a completely new experience for her, she felt completely uplifted by the roar and support of those shouting her name,” White said. Anastasija landed multiple kicks to the head of her opponent in what was probably one of the most exciting finals of the tournament. Those high-scoring head shots come naturally to this impressive and incredibly strong-minded athlete: “Aiming for the head isn’t something I usually practice in training, but it’s something that I and one of my teammates are really good at. It just comes naturally - it’s just a reflex, I guess.” Anastasija had to fight hard for her junior world title; she was taken to a nerve-racking golden point round, which has not proved

36

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

prosperous in the past. “I usually never win in golden point round. It was a stressful situation! But in the back of my mind I was confident. I knew that I was going to win. It felt like it was my gold medal. I worked so hard for it! It was an instinct to lift my leg up and land the winning point.” So Anastasija claimed her world title in dramatic style: With a kick to the head. It is clear that her fighting style attracts the support of taekwondo fans, even if she doesn’t realize it herself. “I like to just do my best and fight my game. I’m not really about trying to impress anybody. I try to fight how I fight. I guess if that fight ([the final] amused many people then that’s great!” Anastasija hopes that her performances will inspire others to achieve their life goals: “I hope to show people that you can come back from losing and always push to achieve your goals. A fighting spirit is all you need. As long as you have that, you can practically achieve whatever you want!” Given her young age, the charismatic American looks well placed to be a source of high-octane entertainment for taekwondo fans for years to come.

Championships Competitions

37


HAMMAMET 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

38

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

39


MOROCCO, MARRAKECH GYMNASIADE

Taekwondo Debuts at Gymnasiade in Morocco Taekwondo joined the ISF Gymnasiade for the first time ever in Marrakech, opening new opportunities for our junior athletes Marrakech, Morocco

May 6-7, 2018

40

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

In yet another top-level event in WT’s “Year of Youth,” taekwondo made its official debut at the International School Sport Federation’s Gymnasiade held in Marrakech, Morocco, over May 6-7, 2018. The Gymnasiade is a multi-sport event organized by the ISF. The Marrakech event served as an opportunity for junior taekwondo athletes to not only display their skills, but also to from friendships across all barriers of geogra-

phy, language, culture, race and religion. “The friendships cultivated among our young players in Morocco will be reinforced at the WT cadet and junior championship held in different countries and continents in the years ahead,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. “And of course, for those with talent, diligence and dedication, these relationships will continue into the senior division as their careers in elite taekwondo proceed.”

Competitions

41


In the City of Gladiators: War in Rome In what will be a new annual fixture, Rome hosted its first ever WT Grand Prix and the WT Demo Team

ROMA 2018

WORLD TAEKWONDO Grand Prix Rome, Italy

June 1-3, 2018

T

he first World Taekwondo Grand Prix of 2018 took place in Rome on 1-3 June, bringing together the world’s very best taekwondo stars. A total of 255 male and female athletes representing 51 countries competed across eight Olympic weight categories in the multi-purpose sports complex, Foro Italico. With the city of gladiators set to become a regular Grand Prix host in the forthcoming years, the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team performed a spectacular show at Rome’s beautiful Piazza di Spagna on 31 May. “We were very excited to bring the Grand Prix to Rome for the first time,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. “The rule changes we have introduced to make the sport more engaging and entertaining have been a great success and in Rome, fans enjoyed the benefits of these changes.”


Roma 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Press Conference Held at CONI Headquarters

Rome’s Stunning Center Provides Classic Backdrop for WT Demo Team

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

The World Taekwondo Demonstration Team officially declared open Rome’s first ever World Taekwondo Grand Prix with an awseome routine at the beautiful Piazza di Spagna on May 30. The performance mirrored a historic demonstration in front of His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City the day prior. Hundreds of onlookers were attracted to the superbly coordinated opening ceremony, which proved to be a fitting start to 2018’s Grand Prix season.

45

World Taekwondo, in partnership with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and Italian Taekwondo Federation, held a press conference at the CONI headquarters on May 30 ahead of the first ever Rome 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix. World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue was joined on stage by CONI President Giovanni Malago and World Taekwondo Coun-

cil Member and Italian Taekwondo Federation President Angelo Cito. Speaking at the press conference, Choue expressed how happy he was for Italy to be hosting their first ever Grand Prix and stated his belief that the competition would be a significant moment in the history of taekwondo in Italy. Italy had qualified for three places at

the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which Choue referred to as evidence of the significant growth of taekwondo in the country in recent years. In recognition of the role that CONI President Malago has played in the development of taekwondo in Italy, Choue presented him with an honorary 7th dan black belt.


M -58kg

Pre-tournament favourite, Rio 2016 gold medal winner and Rabat 2017 Grand Prix Champion So-hui Kim of Korea and Talisca Reis of Brazil fought in the women’s -49kg gold medal match. Both fighters began cagily as neither were willing to commit themselves in the first round, which ended with no points scored. The second began in the some fashion, but then Reis landed a kick to the trunk after 20 seconds to bring the match alive. Both fighters started to attack - and they got their rewards as both landed kicks to the trunk. Another frantic few seconds then saw Kim land a skilful kick to the head, only for Reis to responded immediately with a kick and punch to the trunk. Both fighters were in with a chance in the final round, with the scores close - 7-5 in Reis’ favour. In the final round, Kim showed why she was pre-tournament favourite. She came out with a point to prove and within 30 seconds, she turned the fight on its head with five consecutive kicks to the trunk to put her eight points up. Reis responded with a punch to the trunk, but Kim remained composed and put the match almost out of sight with another kick to the trunk to make the score 8-17. Kim then turned on the style in the final 10 seconds as she landed another two kicks to the head and ended up winning the fight 23-13. A highly professional performance, and Kim’s third Grand Prix Title. The bronze medals were claimed by Jae-young Sim of Korea and Zeliha Agris of Turkey.

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

W -49kg

London 2017 Grand Prix winner Mikhail Artamonov of Russia and Baku 2016 Grand Prix winner Carlos Navarro of Mexico battled for gold in the men’s -58kg final. The fight began tentatively, as neither fighter wanted to concede any early points. The first points weren’t registered until the dying seconds of the first round, when Artamonov landed a kick to the trunk to end the round 2 points up. In the second round, Navarro drew the scores level immediately with a kick to the trunk of his own. Both fighters then composed themselves and defended strongly for the rest of the round. Round 3 began in a similar fashion as neither fighter was willing to commit themselves. The fight looked like it was heading for a golden ound, but in the final 10 seconds, both fighters began to attack aggressively and Navarro looked to have landed the killer blow with a kick to the trunk. Artamonov then responded immediately and landed a kick to the head to claim gold. The fight ended 5-4 in favour of Artamonov, granting him his second Grand Prix title. The bronze medals were shared by pre-tournament favourite Tae-hun Kim of Korea and Jack Woolley of Ireland.

47


M -68kg

mediately draw the scores level once again with a punch. It seemed that this pair of warriors just knew each other’s tactics all too well as it looked like the fight would go to golden round. However, in the last 10 seconds the match exploded into life as both fighters landed points as they went all out for gold. But it was Lee who added to his impressive Grand Prix record by winning the fight 10-8. The bronze medals were shared by Yu-Jen Huang of Chinese Taipei and Bradly Sinden of Great Britain.

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

The men’s -68kg gold medal match saw Daehoon Lee of Korea, who has won a record total of nine Grand Prix titles, and Rio silver medalist Alexey Denisenko of Russia compete in yet another final, having battled it out for gold twice in 2017. It was Lee who came out top on both those occasions, but either fighter was in with a chance of gold this time around. The first points of the fight weren’t registered until a minute and half into the first round when Lee landed a kick to the trunk. Both fighters continued to defend, but Lee stretched his lead to 4-0 as he landed another body kick. However, Denisenko wouldn’t give up his dream and managed to land consecutive kicks to the trunk to bring the scores level and set up an a tense final round. Denisenko came out in Round 3 with a point to prove and immediately forced his opponent into conceding a gamjeom, putting himself into the lead for the first time in the match. Lee responded with a kick to the trunk only for Denisenko to im-

W -57kg The first final of the day saw pre-tournament favourite and Rio 2016 gold medallist Jade Jones of Great Britain fight Marta Calvo Gomez of Spain in the women’s -57kg; a repeat of the Abidjan 2017 World Taekwondo Final. Jones got off to a flying start by landing a kick to the trunk almost immediately and then doubled her lead seconds later with the same move. However, she then began to let her lead slip by conceding five consecutive gamjeoms for keeping her leading leg in the air for more than three seconds and for kicking below the waist. Calvo Gomez went into the second round with a 5-4 lead, having not landed a single kick or punch on her opponent. Both fighters conceded more

gamjeoms to take the scores to 7-7 after 30 seconds into the second round. However, Jones managed to compose herself and landed a swift kick to the trunk to take a 9-7 lead going into the last round. Jones then conceded yet another gamjeom, but came back once more to land an impressive spinning kick to the head followed by a kick to the trunk. Calvo Gomez wouldn’t give up though. She landed a punch followed by a kick to the trunk to make the scores 12-14 and set up a tense final few seconds. However, Jones remained ahead to capture her seventh Grand Prix title. The bronze medals were claimed by Tatiana Kudashova of Russia and Skylar Park of Canada.

49


W -67kg

M -80kg The last final of the tournament saw Muju 2017 World Champion, Maksim “The Red Machine” Khramtcov of Russia, and Raul Martinez Garcia of Spain compete in the men’s -80kg. Both fighters defended strongly in the opening exchanges of the fight. No points were scored until Martinez Garcia landed a kick to the trunk with 15 seconds left and held on to end the round 2-0 up. Khramtcov reduced his deficit immediately in the second round with a punch; Martinez Garcia then responded with a kick to the trunk. However, Khramtcov composed himself and began to attack Martinez Garcia with purpose. In the last minute of the round, Khramtcov landed three kicks to the head followed by a punch to go into the final round 11-4 up. In the opening minute of the last round , Khramtcov defended expertly as Martinez Garcia desperately tried to reduce the deficit. Martinez Garcia managed to land a kick to the trunk with 45 seconds left, but Khramtcov responded with a punch to the trunk. A frantic final 10 seconds then saw both fighters land kicks to the trunk, but it was Khramtcov who held on to claim gold. The fight ended 14-9 to Khramtcov, who claimed his second Grand Prix Title. Toni Kanaet of Croatia and Julio Ferreira of Portugal won the bronze medals on offer.

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

The women’s -67kg final saw Mengyu Zhang of China and Magda Wiet Henin of France compete for gold. The battle started relatively quietly as neither fighter looked to concede any points early on, but in the last 30 seconds of Round 1, Wiet Henin landed two consecutive kicks to the trunk to end the round 4-0 up. In the second round, Zhang composed herself and was determined not to let the fight slip away. She brought the scores level to 4-4 with two kicks to the trunk, setting up yet another nail-biting third round. Wiet Henin started where she left off in the third as she landed a kick to the trunk, only for Zhang to respond immediately with a wicked kick to the head. Zhang then looked to have secured the gold medal with another two kicks to the trunk; she was 11-6 up with 30 seconds to spare. However, Wiet Henin set up a tense last few seconds with an incredible kick to the head. But it wasn’t enough as Zhang hung on to clinch the gold 11-9 - a remarkable result as this was her first-ever Grand Prix. The bronze medals were won by pre-tournament favourite Hye-ri Oh of Korea and London 2017 Grand Prix winner Lauren Williams of Great Britain.

51


M +80kg

The final in this anyone-can-win category saw Muju 2017 World Champion Milica Mandic of Serbia compete take on Poland’s Aleksander Kowalczuk. Mandic got off to a flying start by landing an early kick to the head. Kowalczuk had to compose herself to see off more persistent pressure as the score stayed at 3-0. Kowalczuk then went on the attack herself and landed a clever kick to the head before forcing Mandic into conceding a gamjeom to take the lead. In the second round, Kowalczuk extended her lead to five points with two kicks to the trunk. Mandic desperately tried to reduce the deficit in the third round, but Kowalczuk defended with skill. Mandic landed a kick to the head with 20 seconds left on the clock to set up a tense end to the action. However, Kowalczuk showed impressive resilience as she hung on to win the fight 8-6 and claim the Grand Prix title. Pre-tournament favourite, Bianca Walkden of Great Britain and Da-bin Lee of Korea claimed the bronze medals on offer.

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

W +67kg

Vladislav Larin of Russia, Abidjan 2017 Grand Prix winner and pre-tournament favourite, and Kyo-don “The Bear” In of Korea, London 2017 Grand Prix winner, battled for gold in the final. In conceded two early gamjeoms to give Larin a two-point advantage, but then managed to compose himself almost immediately as he landed two punches and levelled the score. Both fighters then looked to assert their authority, but it was Larin who landed the final blow of the round, as a well-timed kick to the trunk concluded the round 6-4 in Larin’s favour. Only one point was scored in the second round when the Russian conceded a gamjeom and set up yet another tense final round. The third round exploded into action immediately with both fighters giving everything for gold. In initially tied the scores only for Larin to quickly regain his lead with a kick to the trunk. Both fighters then landed a combination of kicks and punches to the body in a frantic 10-second flurry. Larin was forced out of the ring, but the score was still 8-10 in his favour, going into the final 20 seconds of the fight. The killer blow was landed by Larin with yet another kick to the trunk as he claimed the gold medal for Russia, winning13-8. Maicon Siqueira of Brazil and Dmitriy Shokin of Uzbekistan went home with the bronzes.

53


Athlete in Focus

Vladislav Larin Russia

Vladislav Larin of Russia secured his second World Taekwondo Grand Prix title in Rome on June 1 - despite fighting most of the final with a dislocated finger. Larin landed awkwardly on his finger midway through the second round, meaning that he had to fight the remainder of the gold medal match practically one-handed. To make matters worse, he was up against the powerful pre-tournament favorite, Kyo-don “The Bear” In of Korea. Those facts alone prove how impressive Larin’s eventual victory was. The Russian has always enjoyed entertaining in the ring, pushing his body to its outer limits. Before his taekwondo career kicked off, Larin was an upand-coming gymnast until a fracture to his hand when landing ended his ambitions. Still, gymnastics’ loss proved to be taekwondo’s gain. Larin’s outgoing personality combined with a desire to entertain has generated a captivating style of fighting - most notably his trademark spinning kicks to the head. However, experience has taught Larin that he need to pick the right moment to unleash his signature moves. “It is always good to entertain. I like to perform my spinning kick moves, but you need to know when to use them. They can

be useful against some opponents - but not against others.” The Rome final was a fight where Larin had to remain composed and adapt. “In the final there was no need to use my spinning moves. I felt like I was always in control. Also the dislocation of my finger meant that I didn’t want to take any risks.” A dislocated finger would be enough for any athlete to lose their concentration, but Larin fought on to claim gold in the men’s heavyweight category. Looking back on the final, where be battled both In and injury, he hopes that his performance in Rome will encourage the next generation to take up taekwondo. “I aim to inspire people: I hope that I show youngsters that if you work hard, never give up and always believe in your spirit then you can achieve anything you want,” he said. “No matter what!” Larin’s impressive resolve and never-say-die attitude in the face of adversity makes him yet another great role model for World Taekwondo. “I hope that young people will watch my performances and see me claim this world title,” he said. “Maybe they will think that they can one day win a big competition too!”

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

Gymnastics’ Loss, Taekwondo’s Gain: Russia’s Larin Strikes Gold in Rome

55


Athlete in Focus

China

Zhang Grabs Gold at Debut Grand Prix Every sports needs rising stars, and Mengyu Zhang of Team China is either a very, very lucky beginner, or a key player to watch in 2019

M

ost taekwondo athletes will look back on their first Grand Prix as nothing more than a learning curve and an opportunity to win experience against the world’s best taekwondo stars. However, Team China’s Mengyu Zhang’s debut Grand Prix in Rome turned out to be so much more. Zhang surprised everyone when she claimed gold in the women’s -67kg category by knocking out several big names along the way, including Rio 2016 gold medal winner Hye-ri Oh, in the semi-final. Following her victory, Zhang spoke about facing the star she has always looked up to: “I love watching and learning from Hye-ri Oh. She always shows strong resilience during her fights and never gives up. These are fighting attributes that I want to try and emulate myself.” After defeating her idol and advancing to the final, Zhang proved her quality by defend-

ing a slender lead to clinch the title. “In the last round, my opponent kicked my head to take her just two points behind me. I was very nervous but I knew what I had to do to win. I just remained focused on keeping my advantage.” The technical ability and mental strength shown by Zhang in Rome proved that she is no longer a prospect for the future but a leading competitor. Her eyes are firmly set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games but with Team China fielding one of the biggest and best teams in the game, it won’t be easy. “During the rest of year I just want to win more points to be in with a chance of qualifying for the Olympics,” she said. “It’s not easy, but I like to set my aspirations high.” If her Rome performance is anything to go by, Zhang will not just be making up the numbers in Tokyo.

ROMA 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

Mengyu Zhang

57


Cold War Turns Red Hot Moscow, Russia

Aug. 10-12, 2018 Moscow proves itself a safe pair of hands as host, as 2018’s 2ndGrand Prix delivers flawless organization and plentiful action

A

mid a sizzling global heatwave, the world’s top taekwondo fighters raised the temperature even higher in Moscow, as the second edition of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 2018 kicked off for its three-day run at the USK CSKA Basketball Arena in the Russian capital on Aug 10. The sport’s top 230 taekwondo athletes, hailing from 50 countries, competed in eight Olympic weight categories (four male, four female) for sporting glory, Olympic ranking points for Tokyo 2020 and Grand Prix prize money: USD 5,000 for gold medalists, USD 3,000 for silver medalists and USD 1,000 for each of the two bronze medal winners.

58

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Championships Competitions

59


W

-49kg The final pitted Korea’s Rio 2016 gold medalist So-hui Kim against Croatia’s Kristina Tomic. Tomic had the height advantage; Kim had the experience and tactical nous. The Korean scored to the body almost immediately, seizing a two-point lead. The Croatian tried to pressure Kim back – but Kim made the space and landed another well-timed cut kick. Tomic was putting the pressure on, but it was Kim who was connecting, and Round 1 ended 6-0 to the Olympic champion. In the second, Kim - normally a counter-fighter with prudent technique - went over to the offensive, forcing the Croatian off the mats. She then landed not one, but two head kicks. Kim was now fully locked on and scoring consistently before Tomic finally found the range. Round 2 ended 19-2 to Kim. In the third, the Croat stabbed forward aggressively – only to be impaled upon Kim’s kick. The Korean was a scoring machine, but the Croat returned fire, including with a head kick. However, her 10 points were far short of Kim’s 24. The final seconds saw the points flying, but it ended 29-15 to the Korean. Surely, there are few fighters in any category who are as consistent scorers as Kim. Jae-young Sim of Korea and Zeliha Agris of Turkey won bronzes.

M

-58kg The final was set to feature Iran’s Armin Hadipour Seighalani against Korean wunderkind Jang Jun. Alas, the Iranian was unable to appear due to a knee injury suffered in his high-scoring semi-final match against Vito Dell’Aquila – the exhausting bout went to 18-18, meaning Hadipour Seighalani won it in golden round That left Jang - who is still a schoolboy, and so definitely a face to watch - with Grand Prix gold and the Iranian with silver. Andrei Kanaev of Team Russia and Dell’Aquilla of Italy took the bronzes.

60

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

61


W

-57kg The final saw representatives of two of the top women’s teams in the game go head to head: World and Grand Slam champion Irem “The Gold Hunter” Yaman of Turkey versus Croatia’s Bruna Vuletic. It started slowly with both players fighting from conservative, side-on stances; the referee called repeatedly for them to fight. Round 1 ended 0-0. In the second, both fighters scored early to the body; clearly these two were evenly matched. Round 2 ended 2-2. Things heated up in the third with both firing and landing head kicks, but with Yaman ahead, 6-5. Then she landed an audible cut kick under the Croat’s guard, going 8-5 up. Now she had found the range she mercilessly went 10-5 up. In the last 20 seconds the Croat launched a closein charge, but Yaman’s cut kick landed again and it was all over: Gold - with a score of 12-5 - to the Turk. Tatiana Kudashova of Russia and Hatice Kubra Ilgun of Turkey had to be satisfied with bronzes.

M

-68kg The final in this ever-competitive category pitted Team GB’s Bradly Sinden against home-town favorite and Rio silver medalist Alexey Denisenko. The Russian scored first with a well-timed round kick to the head fired from the edge of the mats; the Brit responded with a body kick. Sinden was doing most of the work, but Denisekno was firing more accurate shots, and the first ended 5-2 to the local fighter. In the second, Sinden bought his score up before Denisenko landed another sneaky head kick – then another – varying his attack with ambidextrous kicks and punches. The second ended with Denisenko well

62

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

ahead of the game at 13-4. Sinden had his work cut out in the third and connected with a back kick, then the Russian was penalized for holding. The score went to 9-13, but Denisenko landed yet another round kick to the head, then unleashed a rapid-fire series of kicks on the edge of the mats. After a furious final 30 seconds, it ended 2212, and an impressive gold for Denisenko, who looks to have regained his form after a considerable period off the podium. Pontes Edival of Brazil and Abolfazl Yaghoubijouybari of Iran took the bronze medals.

Competitions

63


W

-67kg The final in this frequently rough category pitted machine gun – Great Britain’s Lauren Williams – against sniper – Croatia’s Matea Jelic. It was action from the opening bell, with Jelic scoring first to the body and William equalizing almost immediately. A stumble by Jelic put Williams ahead, 3-2, then the Brit lifted her score further, taking the first round, 5-2. As Round 2 got underway, the Croat scored almost immediately, but Williams connected to the head, going up 8-4. In back-and-forth action, the Croat drew ahead, forcing Williams off the mats. The second ended 13-11 to Jelic. In the third, a risky high spinning kick saw Williams fall, then the Croat scored again, taking her points to 17, then 18. Williams counterattacked, forcing Jelic out, then landed, going up to 15 and – highly unusually – floored Jelic with a punch. In the last seconds, William was blitzing forward with punches and spinning kicks, but it ended 20-17 with a deserved victory and gold for Jelic. Julyana Al-Sadeq of Jordan and Rio gold medalist Hye-ri Oh of Korea won the bronzes.

64

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

M

-80kg For the final of this always-popular division, it was up-and-coming Saleh Elsharabaty of Jordan against consistent Grand Prix medalist Maksim “The Red Machine” Khramtcov. Khramtcov had not only benefitted from a by in the semi-finals, he was also clear home town favorite. Yet as the battle commenced, it was the Jordanian who scored first – but he was almost immediately countered by a yelling punch from Khramtcov. Khramtcov - one of the most spectacular and fun-to-watch players in the game - landed a head kick in the clinch, but was then run across the mats and dropped by the Jordanian as the two big fighters went

all out in a display of controlled ferocity. The rounded ended 8-6 to Khramtcov – and loud applause. In the second, Khramtcov unleashed a blitzkrieg of kicks, ringing up the scoreboard – but Elsharabaty, unintimidated, was not yielding an inch. The Russian delighted the local crowd as he soared across the mats with a flying ax kick – awesome technique! Having benefitted from a by in the semifinal, his energy, combined with a spectacular technical arsenal, was putting him ahead, 19-6. Another Khramtcov punch echoed around the stadium. The rounded ended 22-6, with the Russian buoyed by the

roaring crowd. In the third, Elsharabaty tried to come under the Russian’s guard, then uncorked a spinning heel kick as he tried desperately to equalize. A cut kick from Khramtcov could be heard around the arena, then he lunged across the mats with a punch. He tried more aerials while the Jordanian forced him off the mats – where the bell rang. A convincing (and entertaining) 29-11 victory for Khramtcov - and yet another addition to his winning streak. Bronzes went to Croatia’s Toni Kanaet and to Maksim Rafalovich of Uzbekistan.

Competitions

65


M W

+67kg The final of the women’s heavyweights saw Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk take on Turkey’s Nafia “The Amazon” Kus. It was immediate action, with Kus stabbing forward and scoring two points with a side kick in the opening seconds. The Pole returned fire but Kus leaned out of range – and scored to the body again. Round 1 ended 4-0 to The Amazon. In the second, the Pole found the range with a body kick and Round 2 ended 4-2 to Kus. In the third, The Amazon was penalized for holding, taking the score to 3-4. Now Kowalczuk showed her quality, drawing ahead, 5-4, then 7-4, pressing her attack with a barrage of kicks that drew roars from the crowd s the board rose to 9-4. Kus, re-energized, launched a blitz of attacks as the round counted down, but despite her last-minute efforts, the match ended 11-9 and a gold for Kowalczuk. China’s Rio 2016 gold medalist Shuyin “The Beautiful Giraffe” Zheng and Serbia’s London 2012 gold medalist Milica Mandic had to be satisfied with bronzes in this increasingly unpredictable category.

66

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

+80kg The heavyweight final saw Korea’s Kyo-don “The Bear” In take on Slovenia’s Ivan Trajkovic. In landed first with a side kick, but the rest of the round was slow paced with the two fighters appearing well matched and very cagey. The first round ended 2-0 to In. In the second, there was more movement from both players, but little connecting. In extended his lead with another body kick, 4-0, and the round ended on that score. In the third, the Slovene put more pressure on, but In was looking almost relaxed. The Korean landed a spinning head kick but hit the deck, taking the score to 9-1. In, however, now had the range, and lifted his score to 13-1. The Slovene finally landed a body kick, and was rewarded by stumbles from In which cost him penalties. Even so, the battle ended with a decisive 13-5 victory to the Korean. Anthony Obame of Gabon and Oleg Kuznetcov of Russia won bronzes.

Competitions

67


Croatia is one of taekwondo’s rising teams, and Matea Jelic deploys the weaponry needed to keep the Croats on the podium

Battle Royale It was bang-crash action from the opening buzzer in the women’s -67kg category in Moscow as Croatia’s Matea Jelic took on the fearsome Lauren Williams of Team Great Britain. Jelic scored first to the body but Williams, perhaps the most aggressive player in the category, equalized almost immediately. A stumble by Jelic put Williams ahead, 3-2, then the Brit lifted her score further, taking the first round, 5-2. In the second, the Croat scored almost immediately – but Williams connected to the head, going up 8-4. In back-and-forth action, the Croat drew ahead and even reversed the forceful Williams – an all-out attack specialist with just one gear, which is fast forward – off the mats. The second ended 13-11 with the Croatian ahead. In the third and final round, a risky high spinning kick saw William visit the mats, then Jelic scored again, taking her points to 17, then 18. Things got physical. Williams counter-attacked, forcing Jelic out, then landed, bringing her points up to 15 and – highly unusually in taekwondo – flooring Jelic with a punch. In the last seconds, William did what she did best: blitzing forward with an all-out assault of punches and spinning kicks. But cool head won out over fierce heart: The battle ended 20-17 with a hard-

68

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

fought victory and gold medal for Jelic. And it had been no easy path to the final. To reach Williams, Jelic had faced one of the most experienced players in the sport – Team Korea’s Olympic gold medalist Hye-ri Oh – in the semis. In that fight, too. Jelic’s target radar had been perfectly calibrated, as she connected with both punches and stealthy face kicks for a 9-3 win against the formidable Oh. The day after, the magnitude of Jelic’s achievement was still sinking in. “It was amazing – it was a dream!” the Croatian said. “It filled my heart.” Prior to that, her top wins were third place in the European Championships and third place in last year’s London Grand Prix. “I can’t describe how I felt,” she said of the moment when she realized that she was a Grand Prix champion. “There are no words for it!” So: What was the battle plan for Williams? “The plan was just to fight ! Because with her, you need to fight from beginning to end,” Jelic said. “It was fun! I enjoy fighting – and I hope she enjoyed it too.” Her parents – who had got her involved in the sport as a child – were over the moon. “They are so happy, maybe more than me!” Jelic said. “They feel every fight with me.”

Competitions

69


Being the Best Clearly, accuracy is Jelic’s specialty. Her other assets are flexibility and the fact that she loves to fight. “I always train to give my best performance – it is all planned out,” she said. “I do the hard work in training; I come to have fun and enjoy the fights!” Analyzing her weight category, she said: “I think in this category there are so many good players, so many really good fighters.” As a result, there is never a definite winner. ”You never know what will happen,” she said. “It makes it interesting.” In terms of inspiration, she names – like so many other fighters in the game – Team Korea’s Dae-hoon Lee, the only multiple winner of“Best Male Athlete of the Year”

award. “He is such a good fighter – he has everything,” she said. “I like to watch him and copy him: He is smart, he has stamina, he has footwork, he has timing.” In the female division she cites Serbia’s World Champion and London Olympic gold medalist Milica Mandic. “Her spirit and everything – she is an amazing person, and such a good athlete!” Jelic said. “I have known her many years, she is a role model.” While some fighters and coaches struggle to keep up with the pace of taekwondo’s transformation, Jelic embraces the rule changes. “It is good for me, we adapt to it, we practice the new stuff,” she said. “Taekwondo

is always changing – there is no other choice.” Why so? Because while taekwondo has a massive practitioner base, it is still a minority activity as a spectator sport. Hence, the new rules – largely designed to upgrade spectacle – are essential to raise taekwondo’s profile. “I think it is good for the crowds, it is good for taekwondo to have more people watching,” Jelic said. “I want this sport to be famous. I want people to see more. I know there is more to it.” Looking ahead, “I don’t have any exact plans,” she said. “I just want to improve in every competition, to go to another level and to be the best version of myself – like I think every athlete does. That is the key to happiness.”

Matea Jelic: At a Glance Hobby: “I like to spend time with my family and ride bicycles. I like nature.” Favorite song: “‘Hall of Fame’ by Script.” Favorite movie:”I don’t watch a lot of movies.” Favorite food: ”Pizza.” Why taekwondo? “ I do it every day. If I didn’t like it, I would not enjoy it – it would not fill my heart.”

70

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

71


Team Korea’s

‘Super Rookie’ Battles into the Big League He is still a schoolboy, but Jun Jang has secured his place in one of the most formidable senior squads in the game and is adding to Team Korea’s always impressive medal haul

Jun Jang , a third-year high school student, is the latest entrant to the most formidable squad in the game: Team Korea. According to those in the know, he is the only serious challenger to fellow team-mate and three-time World Champion Tae hun- Kim – and is already, thanks to victory in Moscow, a Grand Prix champion. In Moscow, under the spotlights of the USK CSKA Basketball Arena, Jang was pitted against Andrei Kanaev of the hometown team in the semi-finals of the men’s -58kg category. The game started with light-contact sparring as the two carefully felt each other out. Jang was penalized for pushing, but attacked with kick-punch combinations to finish Round 1 ahead 3-1. In the second, the Korean went to work, methodically extending his lead, making excellent use of punches, combinations and close-range head kicks – all while demonstrating excellent ring control and nifty footwork. The second ended 13-3 to Jang. In the third, the Russian had no choice but to attack. However, his moves looked increasingly wild compared to the cool composure of the Korean, who was using circular footwork and kick counters, all expertly delivered with economy of effort and motion. Kanaev was clearly outclassed by Jang, who was employing such a low-intensity style of play that he made

72

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

it look easy. The match ended 24-9 to the Korean wunderkind. “Last month was my first Grand Prix [in Rome, Italy], but I lost the first match,” Jang said the morning after his victory. “This time I had won, so I was very excited.” For the final, Jang marched onto the battleground for his gold-medal showdown with Iranian Iranian Armin Hadipour Seighalani. It was a no-go. The Iranian had suffered an injury in his semi-final against Italy’s Vito

Dell’Aquila – granting Jang the gold by default . “When I got into the field of play, I saw the coach giving the ‘X sign’ and I understood what had happened,” Jang said. “I was tired, but it was OK – I was happy.” The 18-year-old from Chuncheon Province in central Korea has been practicing taekwondo since the age of seven, but only started competing at age 12. He is currently a student at Hongsong High School, where his coach is Athens Olympic bronze medalist Myeo-

ng-seob Song. Unsurprisingly, Jang’s status as an international athlete has won him admiration among his schoolmates. “Originally, my friends at school were ‘Wow!’ when I was winning,” he said. “As time goes by, they expect me to keep winning – but it is really hard.” Now, Jang is getting used to a new set of friends: The elite members of the Korea National Team. “I only joined the team in February but I get along with team mates very well,”

Championships Competitions

73


he said. “My roommate is very friendly, and the seniors guide me to improve team work.” His biggest fans – naturally – are his parents. “My parents are really happy that I have become an athlete, they are proud of me and I appreciate it,” he said. “But when they come to the stadium, and they make a lot of noise, it is really hard – I am a bit shy!” A 4th dan black belt, Jang has – in addition to his Moscow Grand Prix medal – first-place wins at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Burnaby, Canada, and an Asian Championship title from the 2018 Asian Championships held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in May. On the technical front, he clearly has excellent footwork and masterly ring control. In terms of offensive moves, he cites his downward head kick. He also packs a wicked punch and knows how to mix his techniques into efficient combinations. His tactical nous allows him to control the game. “I was taught by my coach to always lead the match,” he said. Still he is skinny even by the standards of the weight category he fights in and admits that his biggest challenge is conditioning. “I am lacking physicality, so I am trying to improve that,” he said. “Both stamina and strength.” Given his inexperience in elite-level competition, he is understandably jumpy before combat commences. “I have no special mental preparation, but I try to be relaxed before

fights,” he said. “If I am nervous before a fight, the fight does not go well.” Pre-fight, he applies ice and tries to find a calm inner space. Jang’s combination of minimal age and major talent has seized the attention of the taekwondo punditry; Korean taekwondo media have nicknamed Jang “Super Rookie.” “He is proceeding so fast,” said Taek-jin Yang, a senior reporter with “Taekwondo News.” “In the qualifications for the 2018 Asian Games, he fought Tae-hun Kim, but lost in the golden round. He is the only one in the world who is competitive with Tae-hun Kim.” Indeed: Kim, a three-time world champion, five-time Grand Prix winner and gold medalist in the inaugural Grand Slam, not only dominates his category, but is one of the most dominant fighter in the sport, period. So the future looks sunny. In the near term, Jang’s plans are ambitious but predictable. “I want to go to university after high school, to major in taekwondo,” he said. “If I quality as a national athlete I’ll go to the National Training Center.” As an athlete, his gun sights are set on Tokyo 2020, but after that he has – like many teenagers – no clear where he is heading. “I want an Olympic gold medal,” he said. “I have no other plans beyond taekwondo at this time.”

Jun Jang: At a Glance Hobby: ”Watching YouTube clips and computer gaming.” Favorite song: “Anything by Twice!” Favorite movie: “Korean movie ‘Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days.’” Favorite food: ”Chicken.” Why taekwondo? “My parents recommended me to start taekwondo, but at first I did not win a lot. But as time passed, I got a lot of wins, so I got inspired.” Motto: “Modesty in silence.”

74

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

75


One of the core players in Team Turkey’s world-beating women’s squad, Irem Yaman is living up to her nickname

Irem Yaman’s nickname is “The Gold Hunter” – and she has been successful in that hunt. Her trophy cabinet contains, among others, gold medals from: The 2017 Grand Slam, the 2018 European Championships, the 2017 Universiade, the 2016 European Championships and the 2015 World Championships. But though she defeated two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones on her way to victory at the Grand Slam, she is not satisfied quite yet. She is one of the taller fighters in her category. “Before, I was not too fast, but after hard training, I feel that I have speed, and I can adapt to the new rules.” Of course, being one of the bigger fighters in her category has one drawback: weight control is hellish. “I like to eat too much!” she admitted. Like “Head Hunter” Jones, “Gold Hunter” Yaman likes to deploy the round kick to the head – a crowd-pleasing and high-scoring

76

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

move – but reckons mental preparation is the key to success. “My strong point is mentality: Before games, I prepare mentally,” she said. “I think that, at the end of the match, the winner will be me, and I listen to our national anthem. Above all, I don’t want to lose!” She considers herself decisive and stubborn, and a key weapon in her training armory is discipline. Her coach considers this her greatest strength, and some idea of her work ethic can be gleaned from the fact that although she won a cool USD70,000 in prize money at the Grand Slam at the start of the year, she has barely spent a cent of it. “I was planning a vacation, but – because I have such a tough schedule – I could not go,” she said. “I want to spend the money after the second Grand Slam. A big vacation!” Yaman, now 23, has been in taekwondo a long time. She started the sport at the age of

Competitions

77


nine, under her father’s tutelage. “I still practice under him,” she said. Her nickname comes from a popular song, and was first used by a newspaper, which headlined a story about her with it. Her best moment in the game was winning the Grand Slam title in Wuxi, China. “I won it in the last second!” she said. “It was an unbelievable moment.” Her lowest point was at the 2017 World Championships in Muju, Korea: She went into battle as defending champion, but lost her first match. Her favorite taekwondo fighter is Turkish legend Servet Tazegul. “His personality is really good,” she said. “And he has very good sportsmanship.” Of the current crop of athletes, she admires Team Korea’s three-time

78

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

World Champion, Lee Dae-hoon. “He is so intelligent in the game,” she said. “I like that.” As for Jones, she said of the Briton: “She is tough, as she is so experienced and she has very good control – I want to control the fight, she wants to control the fight!” And, like Lee, Jones has fight smarts. “She is a smart fighter – a brain fighter,” Yaman said. In her spare time, she likes to read books and watch movies. As an athlete whose first coach was her father, her favorite movie bears a considerable similarity to her own life. “I like the ‘Dangal’ movies – Indian movies about wrestling,” she said. “It is a story about a father and his daughter – similar to my father and me.” Unsurprisingly, the “Gold Hunter’s” par-

ents are happy with her achievements. “First, taekwondo was a hobby, but now I am a pro player,” she said. “This was my parents’ dream.” Yaman is pretty happy, too.“Nobody knows what tomorrow brings,” she said. “But for now, everything is going good.”

Competitions

79


Maksim Khramtcov:

Rise of the ‘Red Machine’ He’s a natural, he’s an entertainer, and he’s a winner - making Maksim Khramtcov Team Russia’s top gun

Talk about a winning streak. Team Russia’s Maksim Khramtcov is European champion, World Champion, Grand Slam champion, and a double Grand Prix champion. That last victory was particularly sweet: It was on home turf in Moscow. In the final of the mens’ -80kg category on Sunday, Khramtcov marched into the arena to his personal fight music – Deep Purple’s classic “Smoke on the Water” – to be joined by his opponent, Jordanian Saleh Elsharabaty. It was Elsharabaty who scored first – but he was almost immediately countered by a yelling punch from the Russian. Khramtcov landed a head kick in the clinch, but was run across the mats and dropped by the Jordanian as the two big fighters went all-out in a display of controlled ferocity. The rounded ended 8-6 to Khramtcov – and loud applause. In the second, Khramtcov unleashed a blitzkrieg of kicks, ringing up the scoreboard – but Elsharabaty, unintimidated, was not yielding an inch.

80

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

The Russian delighted the local crowd as he soared across the mats with a flying ax kick – an awesome technique. Having benefitted from a by in the semifinal, his energy, combined with a spectacular technical arsenal, was putting him ahead, 19-6. Another Khramtcov punch echoed around the stadium. The round ended 22-6, with the Russian buoyed by the roaring crowd. In the third, Elsharabaty tried to come under the Russian’s guard, then uncorked a spinning heel kick as he tried desperately to equalize. A cut kick from Khramtcov could he heard around the arena, then he lunged across the mats with a punch. He tried more aerials while the Jordanian forced him off the mats – where the bell rang. It was a convincing – and entertaining – 29-11 victory for Khramtcov. “After I won the Grand Prix for the second time, I had different emotions,” he said after the match. “This time was better because the Grand Prix took place at home.”

With this remarkable run of victories – could there be a good luck charm at work? When he struck gold in the men’s -80kg category at the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Slam tourney in Wuxi, China, last year, Khramtcov brandished a t-shirt emblazoned with his name and weight category. That t-shirt represents his country’s most famous sports team: The formidable Russian ice hockey squad famed globally as “The Red Machine.” It was an inspired piece of showmanship. Athletes had been briefed to prepare something special for the Grand Slam medal celebrations and Khramtcov’s coach, Alexander Lashpanov, had spotted the t-shirt in a Moscow arena gift shop. He had been looking for a good luck charm, as his student had lost his last major event, the Grand Prix. The t-shirt fit the bill. “This was a clean slate, we needed to start a new chapter,” Lashpanov said. “We plan to take it to Tokyo.”

Competitions

81


Good Luck and Gold Medals The charm appears to be working. Khramtcov is now one of the biggest names in the sport, and at just 20, he is just gearing up. He got his start in a different combat sport. “When I was 10, I did karate, but when a taekwondo coach came to my hometown, I thought taekwondo was very beautiful,” he said. “And it is an Olympic sport.” In terms of physique, Khramtcov is custom-engineered for the game: Tall, leggy, athletic. But he downplays his physique. “I win because of technique and mentality – the way I think and how I present myself,” he said. “That is

my competitive advantage.” He can fight near and far. “I am good at controlling distance, and at working in the clinch,” he said. “With the new rules, it is becoming a bit harder in this position, but I think that with the push, I can still work in this range and get my points.” Currently, he favors high roundhouse and crescent kicks. He can land the ax kick from the clinch, and wields a side kick to keep opponents out of the danger zone. But in a category as hyper-competitive as the men’s -80kg – a division that many fans consider the best in the game – he needs all the

technical proficiency he can get. “Athletes can have the same physique and technique, but mentality is what gets the win,” Lashpanov said. He lauds his student’s physique – “without it, the technique will not work” – but says that Khramtcov is a work in progress. “We are still working on everything, because he is very young, and he changes a lot. We are in the process of figuring everything out.” Regarding key opponents, Kh-

ramtcov rates 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Cheik Sallah Cisse of Cote d’Ivoire – known for his fearless and ferocious fighting style – as the most dangerous. “He is always very dynamic – no stops, no pauses,” he said. Regarding Azerbaijan’s Milad Beigi Harchegani, Khramtcov called him “a very technical fighter – a beautiful fighter – but our techniques are alike, so he is hard to compete against.” In terms of inspiration, he likes Korea’s Dae-hoon Lee. “He sees everything that his competitor is about to do to – he feels what is coming in,” he said.

Winning in Fighting, Winning in Dating Like all athletes, he sees the benefits of a home-town advantage. “The viewers and home atmosphere helped [at the European championships] in Kazan,” he admitted. “I had a crucial moment in the semis – and the support helped a lot.” In dating as well as fighting, Khramtcov has a home-team advantage: He and teammate Natalya Antipenko have been an item for three years. “We met as juniors on the national team,” he said. “We are not the first couples on the national team, because [team members] are together all the time.” His coach apparently approves: “If they do not interfere with each other’s success, it’s all good,” Lashpanov said. But he added, “The sport is the priority!” That’s fine with Khramtcov. “The goal is the Olympics, to win the medal and maybe in the future I will become a coach or open

82

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

my own sports school for taekwondo,” he said. “But the goal now is the Olympics.” Why is Team Russia doing so well at this point? Khramtcov puts it down to generational change. “I think it is because of the change of age of the competitors: We have a lot of new athletes coming into the sport now,” he said. “It is becoming more and more popular in Russia every year, which is a big change compared to several years ago when mostly nobody knew of it.” He is part of that new generation himself – and his coach hopes that his legacy can extend far into the future. “Our hockey team is a red machine – the team that comes and wins,” said Lashpanov. “I want Maksim to come and win – and be remembered in 20-30 years.”

Maksim Khramtcov: At a Glance Hobby: ”Computer games.” Favorite song: “‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple.” Favorite movie: “Action movies.” Favorite food: ”Burgers and pasta.” Why taekwondo? “I love the sport and I have a goal to win an Olympic medal.” Motto: “I don’t think of the loss, I only think of the win!”

Competitions

83


X I R P D N A R G

8 1 20 DO N N A O U W K Y E O A T A T ORLD W

8 1 0 2 , 1 2 19-

ei Taip e s ine , Ch n a yu Tao

t. p e S

ers v i l e e king n D d a r i l rix s Col r Olympicion of the P fo it nd Star ttle hird ed . a a r b i G s as o do at the t e Taipe tourna t n d e s a r y e e yu Battle lite gathe rize mone uan, Chin iation, th Arena, inn o a p T an oy ge ee soc ic s ckin ollars in ld in Ta do As e Taoyu t had b i s k Cla ndo’s high ands of d ch was he i Taekwon19-21 in th Prix even ipe wo nd ous pt. whi Taek and th x series nese Ta from Se e a Gra i , ts ri im e Ch ee days poin rand P rst t h fi t e r y G h b th 2018 anized ver t arked o e c It m Org ok pla an. o u t y t o . men ty of Ta Taipei e i s c the n Chine i held


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX The final pitted Tae-hun Kim, one of Team Korea’s most consistent super kickers, against Jesus Tortosa Cabrera of Spain. Both fighters went right to work, unleashing kicks from all angles. The Spaniard was penalized for foot jabbing, then Kim extended his lead to the body. Oddly, despite the work rate, the round was low scored: 3-0 to Kim. In the second, Kim landed a head kick from an impossible angle. The Spaniard responded with one of his own – no score – then the clinch. The Spaniard raised his work rate and pushed Kim across the mats. Then, more kick dueling, with both men firing ambidextrously. Round 2 ended 7-1 to Kim. In the third, the Spaniard finally connected to the body for 3-7, then Kim lost a point for 4-7. The action continued with Tortosa Cabrera trying spin kicks, but Kim pressed his own attacks, ending the match with a display of superb evasive footwork. End result: 10-8 and gold for Kim. Bronzes were won by Russia’s Mikhail Artamonov and by Korea’s Jun “Super Rookie” Jang.

-49kg The final saw Korean Rio gold medalist Sohui Kim - one of the best counter fighters in taekwondo - do battle against Asian Games gold medalist and master high kicker Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand. Predictably, the Thai offended and the Korean defended, but neither connected and Round 1 ended scoreless. In the second, Wongpattanakit probed with her side kick and looked dangerous with her long, high, arcing round kick; Kim stood off; and the referee demanded action. Kim finally found the range, landing three body kicks in fast succession, ending Round 2 6-0 up. Very suddenly, Wongpattanakit was in trouble. In

86

Round 3, Wongpattanakit attacked forward; Kim danced, and was penalized for grabbing. The Thai high kicked, but was jammed by Kim’s defense, but then found the range, lifting her points to five. With 30 seconds left, Kim, just one point ahead, attacked. But attack is not Kim’s comfort zone, and the Thai equalized to 7-7. That ended the round - so it went to golden round. There were sharp clashes in golden round with the crowd loving it. Wongpattanakit was penalized for exiting area – but scored to Kim’s body, winning gold. Bronzes went to Kristina Tomic of Croatia, and to Rukiye Yildirim of Turkey.

-58kg

87


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

-68kg

-57kg The final saw Turkey’s World Champion and consistent winner Irem “The Gold Hunter” Yaman versus Belgium’s Raheleh Asemani. Round 1 was fought at long range. The Turk had the height advantage and looked more aggressive; the Belgian stayed cool and countered. No score: The first round ended 0-0. In the second, Asmani fell under Yaman’s ax kick, going 0-1 down, but that was the only point on the board.

88

In the third, Asemani rallied and landed a punch in the final seconds, taking the bout to golden point. Here, the world champion showed her quality, landing a convincing body kick for gold – but it had been a brave show from Asemani in what was clearly a difficult, if not frustrating, match for both fighters. Bronzes were won by Zongshi Luo of China and Inese Tarvida of Latvia.

After spectacular semis, the final pitted Iran’s Mirhashem Hosseini against Korean superkicker and perennial favorite Dae-hoon Lee. Hosseini played a cagey game and Lee only found the range in the last 30 seconds with an audible kick to the torso for two points. But the Iranian was not overawed by Lee’s awesome rep, and manhandled him in the clinch; in the final seconds, he clawed back one point and Round 1 ended 2-1. In the second, Hosseini landed a screaming punch, going to 2-2. Clearly, Lee, who normally rings up the points like a pinball machine, was finding the Iranian a difficult opponent. Although the Iranian was penalized, Lee was not scoring his usual machine-gun bursts of points. The round ended 4-4. In the third, Lee moved ahead after the Iranian leg blocked and fell, going up to 5-4. A very clean side kick gave Lee another two points before he almost ate Hosseini’s ax kick to the face – he evaded by a whisker. The Iranian was penalized for holding, but landed a heavy punch. In the final ten seconds, both went hard at it, kicking in close range and fighting on the edge of the mats. Lee was penalized for holding and the roaring Iranian charged. The ferocious struggle ended 13-9 with yet another victory for Lee – but a very strong showing from the entertaining Hosseini. Bronzes went to Brazil’s Edival Pontes and Chinese Taipei’s Ju-Yen Huang.

89


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

-80kg -67kg

90

The final promised to be a classic match - Team Russia versus Team USA - as Polina Khan of Russia (fighting under a particularly paternal coach – her father) took on Paige “McFierce” McPherson of the US. The first round started with foot fencing, then Khan scored twice to the head before falling. The round ended 6-2 to Khan. In the second, Khan seized another point up close, and the two exchanged high kicks. There was yet more in-close action, with McPherson closing the point gap, before Khan landed again, ending the round 7-3. In Round 3, the American opened fire on the high

line; Khan responded with pushes and high kicks. With the score at 7-4, McPherson needed to raise her points. Then the Russian was penalized and it was 7-5 with 35 seconds left on the clock. With 10 seconds remaining, McPherson equalized with a body kick just when she needed it. It ended 7-7, so went to golden round. In the event, neither scored; giving McPherson the win on penalties – ending a long gold medal drought in the Grand Prix series for Team USA and delighting McPherson herself. Bronzes were won by Jan-di Kim and Hye-ri Oh, both of Team Korea.

The final was a fight everyone had hoped to see: Russia’s Maksim The “Red Machine” Khramtcov - a tall, leggy, head-kicker - against Rio gold medalist Cheick Sallah “Fearless” Cisse of Cote d’Ivoire, a man who only ever fights forward with both power and ferocity. In a very fast clash, Khramtcov scored to the body, then landed a punch to go 3-0 up. Cisse responded with a blitzkrieg attack and a punch for his first point. Another punch gave Cisse another point, while his ferocious head kick drew gasps from the pros at ringside. (Luckily for Khramtcov, it missed.) Round 1 ended 4-2 to the Russian.

In the second, Cisse landed a downward slicing kick to Khramtcov’s trunk protector, for 4-4, then drew ahead, 7-4: this was fine play by the Olympic champ. But the Russian returned fire with high kicks, lifting his score to 11-7. Cisse spin kicked; the Russian countered mid-spin; and Round 2 ended 19-8 to Khramtcov. In the final round, Cisse went into an all-out attack, delighting the crowd with dervish-like spin kicks. But it was the Russian who was scoring – with body shots and his trademark head kicks. His points soared. In the dying seconds of Round 3, Cisse dropped a huge, arcing downward round kick, as if to entertain the crowd, though it was too late to win. The final score was 34-16 to Khramtcov. The battle had electrified the fans but had also been a totally convincing victory by the Russian – whose coach had confided earlier that his fighter was not at 100 percent fitness. Given this, the “Red Machine” looks unbeatable at present. Seif Eissa of Egypt and Damon Sansum of Team GB won the bronzes.

91


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

+67kg The final was Great Britain’s double World Champion Bianca “Queen Bee” Walkden - who last season was unbeatable, winning a record number of Grand Prix titles and Grand Slam gold - against Team Korea’s Da-bin Lee. What followed would be one of the shock upsets of the series. Clearly Lee was not intimidated by her formidable opponent and went forward from the get go. Lee scored first with a punch, 1-0, then Walkden was penalized, but the Queen Bee equalized with a round kick to the body while retreating – a rare technique. Round 1 ended 2-2. In the second, Lee landed to the body then with a crescent kick connected to the head. It was 7-2, then Lee visited the mats twice. Lee landed another punch – then an utterly wicked round kick slammed into the Brit’s jaw. Walkden, clearly shaken, took a standing count. It was 11-4 to Lee, who struck with yet another arching head kick. Walkden looked either dazed or demoralized as the round ended 17-4 to Lee. In the third, Walkden tried head and spin kicks, but Lee was merciless, surging ever further ahead. It ended 22-6, with a remarkable gold for Lee, who had dispatched Chinese Rio gold medalist Shuyin “The Beautiful Giraffe” Zheng in the semi-finals. So, an amazing result over two premium-quality opponents – truly, a new star of female taekwondo has been born. China’s Zheng and Turkey’s Nafia “The Amazon” Kus took home the bronzes.

92

+80kg The final matched Russia’s Vladislav Larin against Gabon’s Anthony Obame. In a tight first round, both fighters mixed frontand rear-leg kicks, while engaging in psy-war. It ended 0-0.

In Round 2, Larin landed a powerful-sounding round kick to the torso. The second ended on that score, two points. Still, anyone could win: There was just one body kick on the board. In Round 3, the match came to life. Larin employed spinning back kicks, while Obame was penalized. Larin landed again and the match ended 6-1 with a gold for Larin. At the conclusion, the delighted Russian heavyweight let out a roar of victory. Hongyi Sun of China and Mahama “It’s Cho Time” Cho of Great Britain shared the bronzes.

93


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX ATHLETE IN FOCUS

Shuyin Zheng:

Team China’s

‘Beautiful Giraffe’

Hates to Spin, Loves to Win Since winning Rio gold, the pressure has been on Shuyin Zheng. But though she does not like to spin, her long legs and a wicked ax kick are keeping her at the top of the women’s heavyweight division

94

Taekwondo is one of the world’s most widely spread, most globalized sports – and that is a fine thing. It does, however, present a problem. With athletes, coaches and officials hailing from all points of the compass, off-mats communication can be a problem: Warm-up areas and hotel lobbies at taekwondo events are Towers of Babel. Team China’s Olympic superstar Shuyin Zheng has found a unique way to navigate

this situation – she follows her nose. “I like all my opponents – Bianca Walkden of GB, Aleksandra Kowalczuk of Poland, Da-bin Lee of Korea, Milica Mandic of Serbia – and I want to be friends with them all, but I am not good at English,” she said. “So communication is all about body language – and smelling each others’ scents!” Even so, it is not her nose that Zheng is known for: It is her height. The tallest player

in the women’s heavyweight division, the 24-year-old’s nickname is the “Beautiful Giraffe.” It was that giraffe-like physique – tall, slim, long-legged – that provided her with a passport into the sport. At the tender age of nine, she was scouted by a coach in her hometown of Dandong.

to everyone who helped me,” she said. “I treasured that moment.” Yet, while Rio 2016 was her biggest win, it was not necessarily her proudest competitive achievement. In addition to Rio, she cites gold at the Suzhou Grand Prix in 2014, and most especially a very hard-earned gold at the Mexican Grand Prix Final in 2015. “I worked really, really hard to be champ that time,” she recalled. “I had eight fights!” And indeed, Zheng is still the number two seed in the category, but has not dominated it the way she did in the 2015-2016 season. But she is not against the rule changes, which, she admits, are injecting spectacle back into the game. “I don’t think too much about the rule changes,” she said. “I think it is better and better for taekwondo.” Like virtually everyone else who is asked this question, her first choice is Korea’s Daehoon Lee. “He is really good, he fights well, very quick, very lively.” Team Russia’s “Red Machine,” Maksim Khramtcov, is another. “I

like his moves, I like the ambience in his fights – it looks like he finds it easy to win.” Her third choice is another Korean, triple world champion Tae-hun Kim. “He finds it easy to win and has great technique, really great technique,” she said. “Very high standard.” Analyzing her own game, she recognizes the criticality of preventing her opponents breaking inside her kicking arc. She plies a long-distance side kick to keep opponents at range, and drops a towering ax kick to the head as her big, point-scoring weapon. However, the crowd-pleasing, high-scoring spin kicks are not part of her arsenal. “I am very tall, I have to be stable and flexible but I don’t like to do spinning kicks,” she said. “I am not that well balanced – if I spin, I don’t know what is north, south, east or west!”

Talent + Training = Success Dandong is well known for being where the Great Wall begins. It is also China’s historical gateway into the Korean peninsula: It sits across the Yalu River from the North Korean town of Sinuiju. Today, it is visited by many Koreans, and is also home to many Chinese-Koreans. Zheng is not Chinese-Korean – “I am all Chinese!” – but she took to the Korean-originated sport almost immediately. “The coach picked me – only me! – as I was tall and had a strong body: I was perfect for taekwondo,” she said. “I picked up the motions very quickly and I could learn everything right away, so I loved it.” In elementary school she was (naturally) not too focused on her future: “When I was young, I just did it for fun – for kicking and knocking down – but I did not think I wanted to be an athlete.” But talent is talent, and combined with training, the results came. In 2016, after the Olympic smoke cleared, Zheng became the toast of China when she mounted the winner’s podium in Rio. “After I won the Olympics, I just wanted to say a really big thanks

95


Focused on Tomorrow, Living in Today While double-Olympic gold medalist Jingyu “Joy” Wu is cited for first raising the profile of taekwondo in China, the sport gained an added blast of popularity after Zheng and team mate Shuai Zhao both struck gold in Rio in 2016. “Lots of people in China are learning taekwondo now, it is becoming more popular than local martial arts,” she said. “The profile is rising, you can see the games on TV, and in every city in

China, there are hundreds of dojangs where you can learn taekwondo.” One reason for taekwondo’s rising popularity may be that, while it is a foreign sport, its etiquette is based on familiar Confucian modes of behavior. “Taekwondo is very polite and in China we have to be polite – this is Confucianism,” she says, grinning and bowing to show what she means. “You have to be polite, patient and model yourself on your seniors.” An example of taekwondo’s heightened profile in China was at the recent Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, where Zheng’s teammate Zhao was the standard bearer for Team China

during the athletes’ march on. Now, in the midst of the Olympic cycle leading to Tokyo 2020, public expectations are high. “I have lots of pressure now. When I was an early competitor, I could calm down and analyze opponents,” Zheng said. “Now, I do not think too much, I am under a lot of pressure.” The “Beautiful Giraffe,” however, is focused not on an event that is still two years ahead, but on the here and now. “I don’t think too much about the future; the best moment is now,” she said. “It is a bit ironic that the best moment is now and the worst moment is now, but every day is a whole new day; every moment is a good moment.”

Shuyin Zheng: At a Glance Hobby “I like listening to the sound of the ideophone (a kind of tin drum).” Favorite song “The Chinese national anthem.” Favorite movie “Iron Man” Favorite food “I love ice cream!” Why taekwondo? “It means a lot to me. My life is taekwondo.” Motto “You only live once, so enjoy the moment. You have to be bold!”

96

97


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX ATHLETE IN FOCUS

For Jesus Tortosa Cabrera, Taekwondo is a

Family Affair

Coaching from Dad and the National Team took Jesus Tortosa Cabrera into a tight final against one of the sport’s most dominant players

98

A

ll coaches are proud when their players win medals, but Spain’s Jesus Tortosa was, perhaps, prouder than most on the evening of Sept. 20 at the Taoyuan Arena: His player, Jesus Tortosa Cabrera, is his own son. “Dad has been my number one fan, my number one coach – he cheers for me, he suffers with me!” said Tortosa Cabrera, after winning a tight silver in the finals of the men’s -58kg. “For me, this is everything.” It is indeed – for Tortosa Cabrera “learned to walk” in his father’s Madrid dojang. Cabrera Sr. was a competitor who fought at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the sport is a family affair: His three children are all international level players, as is his wife (albeit, as a hobbyist, not a competitor). He started preparing Tortosa Cabrera for a full-time taekwondo career after his son took a serious interest in London 2012. Now, the future looks bright. Tortosa Cabrera is just 20, which places him perfectly, age-wise, for both Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. And his father is far from his only influence. Currently, Tortosa Cabrera spends his days working out at the National Training Center with Spanish National Team Coach Miguel Angel Herranz. There, he has a core group of 13 persons assisting

him with all aspects of tournament preparation. The training has paid off. He has medaled in seven Grand Prix events, and proved his bona fides at the highest level in Taoyuan: His final battle was against one of the most dominant fighters in the game, Team Korea’s Tae-hun Kim. From the opening bell, both fighters got straight down to business, unleashing middle and high kicks. Oddly, despite their high work rate, the round was low scored: 3-0 to Kim. In the second, Kim landed a close-range head kick from an impossible angle. Tortosa Cabrera responded with one of his own – but was penalized for holding. Tortosa Cabrera raised his work rate and drove Kim across the mats. Then, there was a series of dueling kicks, with both players fighting ambidextrously. Round 2 ended 7-1 to Kim. In the third, the Spaniard finally connected to the body for 3-7, then Kim lost a point for 4-7. The action continued with Tortosa Cabrera trying spin kicks, but Kim pressed his own attacks, ending the match with superb evasive footwork.

99


Young Gun Makes His Mark The end result was 10-8 and gold for the Korean kicking machine. However, it had been a remarkable performance from the young upand-comer – just two years out of the juniors’ division – against one of the most dominant players in the game. “This was the third time I had a fight with him, he is a really, good player – the man to beat!” said Tortosa Cabrera. “But I fought really well, and in the fight, I think he watched my face: I wanted to win. I believe in my possibilities.” Those possibilities are significant. Talking to the young Spaniard, it is clear that he is very intelligent – a thinker as well as a fighter. He is a keen analyst of both himself and his fellow athletes. “I play in the -58kg and my height is 187cm, so that is my principle strength,” he said. “When I fight, I can manage the distance and I am very well-conditioned.” Like so many players he prioritizes the front leg, which he wields in perfect synchronicity with a thunderous punch. “My favorite kick is my punch!” he joked. His head game is equally clear. “I am an aggressive player, and that makes rivals think: ‘He’s coming at me all the time!’” he said. “But I am smart, I like to play with time, and with the mind of the other player. I think you can win some fights before going on to the court.” Prior to Taoyuan, Tortosa Cabrera’s biggest win was gold at the Junior World Junior Championships in gold in Taipei in 2014. The following year, at the Manchester Grand Prix in 2015, he took silver – making his name in the senior division. “I was coming from the juniors, I was nobody in the rankings in the taekwondo world, and I achieved a silver medal, beating [Iran’s] Farzan Ashourzadeh Fallah at a moment when nobody could beat him,” he re-

100

Jesus Tortosa Cabrera: At a Glance Hobby “I play guitar. I play rock when I am alone; when I am with friends,I play morepopular songs that everyone knows.” Favorite song “‘Thunderstruck” by ACDC.” Favorite movie “Django” Favorite food “Paella.” Why taekwondo? “I love all the things this sport gives me. The adrenalin - being in a court fighting against another person and knowing that all your work comes down to six minutes - is something you can never have anywhere else. And thanks to the sport, I have visited many countries and met people from many cultures.” Motto “Without sacrifice there is no gain.”

On Track for Tokyo called. The next year, it was bronze at the 2017 World Championships in Muju. “I was in really good shape and fought very well in the first four fights,” he said. “I lost in the semi final, but I was in my best shape of all time.” His father is upbeat on his potential. “He has won seven Grand Prix medals and he is only 20!” Tortosa enthused. Tortosa Cabrera loves not just the play, but also the players. “I am friends with the people I fight with: Inside the court is one thing, outside the court is another thing,” he said. “We are all sports people, we train, we sacrifice a lot, we all talk about how difficult it is to make weight. We are humans. If you are angry with the people you fight with in your career, you will be alone.“

And as he loves the game, he has strong opinions about how to transition taekwondo from a participant sport to a spectator sport. The first thing has to be transparent regulation. “The people who understand the sport are the people who do the sport, that is the principle problem,” he said. “I go to events with friends and they say, ‘Why aren’t you winning if you are kicking more times?’ Normal people don’t understand the rules, when people can lose by gamjeon.” Another negative is the length of many competitions. “National Championships and Opens start at 8:00 am and end at 11:00 pm!” he noted. “It is not possible for normal people to watch that!” He offered a novel suggestion to raise the sport’s profile. “One thing that would make this sport go up is betting: All sports are bet

on,” he said. “This would make not only [participants] like the sport, but people who want to make money would also watch it.” Tortosa Cabrera is currently pursuing a sports science degree in Madrid; his financial needs as a competitor are met by government sponsorships. Naturally, his eyes are set on Tokyo 2020 – and despite his youth, he is already familiar with the agony and ecstasy of the world’s greatest sporting event. “My best moment in the game, I think, was in 2016 when I qualified for the Olympics at the European Qualifications, and my worst moment was in Rio,” he said. “I had a medal in my hands – I was so close! – and I lost in golden point in the bronze medal fight. You have the glory right there – then, in 20 seconds you have nothing! The difference between having an Olympic

medal and not having one is everything.” In the run-up, he is gunning for gold at the Worlds in Manchester next year and then hopes to “get the medal I didn’t get in Rio” in Tokyo. The path to 2020 is one he will not be walking alone. Firstly, he has the full support of Spain’s National Training Center. Secondly, his girlfriend of over a year is fellow competitor Irene Laguna of Team Spain. Thirdly, of course, he has the strongest family support any player could realistically ask for – the father-son/ coach-player relationship. “We make a very good team,” said the father. “He is very disciplined, very smart and he follows my opinions.” “All my results are thanks to him,” said the son. “This is something that people who don’t have it will never know.”

101


TAOYUAN 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX ATHLETE IN FOCUS

Paige “McFierce” McPherson Ends Team USA’s Grand Prix Gold Medal Drought This fighter’s road to the top has not been easy but she has always kept faith with ‘The Man Upstairs’ Taekwondo is one of the few global sports in which a developing country, such as Cote d’Ivoire, can outperform the hyper-power that is the United States. Indeed, Team USA, a taekwondo powerhouse in the 1990s, has been an also-ran at premier-league international competitions many, many times in recent years. Which is why there may well have been delight in taekwondo dojangs across the “Land of the Free” when Team USA’s Paige “McFierce” McPherson struck gold at the Taoyuan Grand Prix on Sept. 19. “This is truly a dream, this is my very first championship title in a major international event,” McPherson said. “I have always medaled, but this time I finally got the title – champion!” Earning that title was no easy thing. In the first semifinal of the night, she took on Rio Olympic gold medalist Hye-ri Oh of Team Korea, a canny and highly experienced player, who, when fighting McPherson at last year’s Grand Prix Finals in Abidjan, was behind in Rounds 1 and 2, but then surged back to win it in the third. Things were different this time. “She came out to bully me and push me around, I felt her trying to feel me out, but I put on that strong face and showed it is not going to work with me, and I think that got to her,” McPherson said. “It was a good fight! Obviously it was a dream come true to beat the Olympic champ, but it was a grudge match for me: I wanted to show her she got lucky last time!” The final was a classic match-up: USA versus Russia. Facing McPherson across the mats was Russian young gun Polina Khan (fighting under her father’s coaching). Khan led on points until the last 10 seconds when MacPherson equalized with a body kick, taking the board to 7-7 and the game to golden round. With neither fighter managing to land in golden point, the American won gold on penalties. Her first reaction was, “Did I really win?” she recalled. “It was truly surreal! There was a lot of emotion, not just for myself, but for Peak Performance, and for our head coach, Juan Moreno.” Her victory was followed from afar. “My parents woke up at 3:00 am to watch the semis, and everyone is ecstatic back home – my family, my team mates back in Miami,” she said. “When I went into the final they were in the gym working out to get ready for the Presidents Cup, they were crowding round an I-phone cheering me on!” The win was also a triumph for her newly minted personal coach, Terence “TJ” Jennings of Miami, Florida-headquartered gym Peak Performance. Jennings, currently in a transition from competing to coaching, had been guiding McPherson for just three weeks prior to Taoyuan. “He and I have been through it since day one, on the same path with the same dream,” she said of Jennings. “We made the 2012 Olympic team together; he is such an amazing athlete and now as a coach has always said the right things.”

102

103


Fighting to Stay Liquid – with the Help of ‘The Man Upstairs’ Competing with other sports is always an issue for taekwondo, which is successfully globalized as a participator sport, but not as a spectator sport. This is particularly problematic in the United States, which is not only perhaps the world’s strongest sporting powerhouse, but also the first mover in the marketing and commercialization of sports. There, taekwondo is a very poor cousin in a country that is firmly focused on American football,

From Traditional Taekwondo to Competitive Kicks McPherson got her start in the sport via her older brother Evan, a Korean adoptee. “I was the little sister, I started after him,” she said. (Her brother has now moved on to a more serious combative format: He is a special forces soldier.) She started in the traditional martial art and earned her fourth dan, but is now concentrating entirely on the sport side under the eyes of Jennings, and Peak Performance Head Coach Juan Moreno – himself, a famed Olympian – and his team in Miami. A consistent finalist, McPherson has a truckload of trophies, but considers her top three wins bronze at the 2012 London Olympics; silver at the Worlds in Muju in 2017; and Grand Prix gold in Taoyuan. What are her strengths as a fighter? “I have been fortunate to be trained by one of best coaches in the world, Juan, and he has taught all athletes to be well rounded,” she said. “The ones that are well rounded and able

104

to adjust and adapt to rule and system changes are the ones who are successful.” In the ring, she is one of the smaller players in her division, but possibly the fastest. Given her size, her strategy is to dominate the fight at the danger-close range. “It is all about the inside game, trying to control the distance, using the front leg cut kick to position yourself to get inside,” she said. “I have developed the punch over the years – that has really helped – and I use upper-body strength to score in the clinch.” She is also a busy fighter. “You make sure the cover is there, the front arm is out, cancelling the front line – doing more than the fighter in front of you.” McPherson is upbeat on the recent rule changes that were part-designed to move the game away from “tall-kwondo,” and to aid the more aggressive, forward-fighting players. “Pushing has changed my game, and the two

points to the body – before it was truly foot fencing, it was all about who was taller and longer,” she said. “The rules have really helped me. Back in the day, you did not have to be physical – you just had to have the reach.” But while the American favors the new rules and the electronic scoring system, she and her coach both think the presentation of the fighters needs to be upgraded – starting with the uniforms. “Nothing we do on the mats now is traditional, we are creating new moves and kicks,” said Jennings, suggesting that these new techniques should be reflected in a new look for the athletes. “It would be nice to see spandex involved, as the dobok does not display what [the athletes] look like: I think there is a way to have a combination, so there is the tradition of taekwondo, but also make it more visually exciting for the spectators.”

baseball and basketball - which tend to gain most of the big corporate sponsorships. Taekwondo’s commercial status in the US means McPherson’s financial status is constantly precarious. “The US Olympic Committee give me a monthly stipend until my ranking slips – if that slips I will not get paid,” she said, though that she has sponsorships from therapeutic firm Jaguar and martial arts equipment firm Kwon. “I have been very blessed to have a family that helped me financially in the past, but it could really end up being tournament by tournament: Losing one could change my financial situation.” Given the uncertainty of sport results, this situation must generate constant mental pressure. And yet, McPherson is not complaining. “It comes down to believing in God’s plan for me,” she said. “I have always found a strange way to support myself, and that has God’s hand in it.” Currently, she is aiming at Tokyo 2020 – and that will be it, as

far as fighting goes. “Definitely, after Tokyo I will transition out of the sport – as in not competing anymore,” she said. “I don’t have a set goal or game plan afterwards.” Alongside her training, she is studying for a degree in Business Management at Florida International University, and post-Tokyo would “love to be involved in my sport with my country.” She is in no relationship at present, so is “focusing on my career and trying to figure out what I want.” For guidance in the years ahead, McPherson will be relying upon what she calls “The Man Upstairs:” She is deeply Christian. In person, she is also talkative, upbeat, cheerful and giggly. So why is such a God-fearing, good egg known as “McFierce?” “One of my team mates back in Miami said that whenever I get into the ring I change from my general sweet attitude to a fierce attitude,” she said. Referring to her gold-winning performance in Taoyuan, she added: “It worked: ‘McFierce’ came out!”

Paige McPherson: At a Glance Hobby “At Peak Performance we love to have game nights: board games, card games. Having time with family – I only see them twice a year in South Dakota. Also, whenever I go home, I go fishing and camping.” Favorite song “Anything by Drake.” Favorite movie “Iron Man” Favorite food “I love pizza. That is my weakness!” Why taekwondo? “Taekwondo has opened doors for me, it has given me the opportunity to do something I love and travel round the world and opened my eyes to different cultures and the way people live. It has humbled me.” Motto “From ‘Proverbs:’ ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path.’”

105


Manchester, Great Britain

Oct. 19-21, 2018

MANCHESTER 2018

Taekwondo Online: Grand Prix Meets Virtual Grand Prix

WORLD TAEKWONDO GRAND PRIX

Manchester Madness: World’s Best Return to Home of Grand Prix Manchester, Great Britain, which pioneered the very first WT Grand Prix in 2013, and will host the World Championships in 2019, hosted the penultimate World Taekwondo Grand Prix of 2018. The event was held over 19-21 Oct. at the Manchester Regional Arena. Converging on the British city were 250 of the best male and female taekwondo athletes in the world, representing 53 different countries, and competing in eight different weight categories.

On the sidelines of the Manchester Grand Prix, GB Taekwondo partnered with Swedish gaming company, Hello There Games, to arrange an online tournament. The event was a boost for Hello There Games’ new game, “Taekwondo Grand Prix,” which was released on Oct. 3. The game, played on the innovative, multi-player platform Steam, features real elite-level fighters, motion-captured. The game is as authentic as an e-sport can get: It follows Olympic rules and is supported by World Taekwondo.

Scan QR below to find the trailers for the game. Action Games Trailer

Cinematic Game Trailer


W -49kg

Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand took on Jae-young Sim of Korea in the final. The fight started cagily as both athletes defended well. Wongpattanakit claimed the first and only point of the round by forcing her opponent into a gamjeom. Both fighters defended equally as well in the opening stages of round two. However, Wongpattanakit landed a powerful blow to Sim’s trunk after 40 seconds. This seemed to inspire Wongpattanakit, as she landed multiple kicks and punches to the trunk to take a 9-0 lead into round three. Wongpattanakit defended skillfully in the final round, keeping Sim at bay with neat footwork and masterly parries. Wongpattanakit went on to land one last kick to win an emphatic 11-0 victory and her second Grand Prix title of the year, following her victory in Taoyuan last month. Hung Yu-Ting of Chinese Taipei and Miyu Yamada of Japan claimed the bronze medals on offer.

108

M -58kg

W -57kg

Double Olympic Champion and crowd favourite Jade Jones of Great Britain and Lijun Zhou of China faced off in the final. Jones came out of the blocks flying and immediately landed a kick to the head, but fell for a gamjeon. Jones, buoyed by the energy of the crowd she successfully landed a punch and kick and ended Round 1 7-1 up. Jones began the second just as confidently by landing another kick to the trunk. Zhou tried to fight her way back, but Jones was too strong defensively. Zhou managed a punch and the round finished 9-2. Both fighters began the third round with intent, but no points were scored until Jones landed a kick to the trunk after 30 seconds. With one minute to go, Jones was 11-2 up. Zhou landed two consecutive punches to the trunk, but it was not enough. To the delight of the home crowd, Jones claimed her seventh Grand Prix title with an emphatic 11-4 victory. Skylar Park of Canada and Raheleh Asemani of Belgium took home the bronzes.

Taoyuan Grand Prix winner Tae-hun Kim of Korea and Armin Hadipour Seighalani of Iran battled it out for gold. Both fighters defended well in the opening round as no points were scored until the final 30 seconds when a kick to the head from Hadipour Seighalani sparked the fight into action. Kim managed to land a kick to the trunk to cut his deficit to just one point. Hadipour Seighalani, began round three 3-2 up and did well initially to protect his narrow lead. However, Kim finally broke his resistance with a body kick, following up with a punch-kick combination to the trunk. Hadipour Seighalani instantly responded with a kick to the head before taking the lead with a kick to the trunk. Going into the final round, Hadipour Seighalani had a narrow 8-7 lead. The last round was arguably the most entertaining of the Grand Prix, as both fighters showcased wicked skills in front of an animated crowd. The fight looked like it could go either way: Both landed a series of kicks and punches, but Hadipour Seighalani proved too strong and put the fight to bed with one last kick to the head. The Iranian claimed a 16-12 victory, winning his first Grand Prix title of the year - a great win against one of the toughest opponents in taekwondo. The bronze medals were claimed by Adrian Vicente Yunta and Jesus Tortosa Cabrera, both from Spain.

109


M -68kg

W -67kg

The women’s -67kg final was contested by home-grown hero Lauren Williams of Great Britain and Moscow Grand Prix winner Matea Jelic of Croatia. The fight started cagily as neither athlete wanted to give away any early points. However, Williams managed to put herself two points up with two punches to the trunk on the minute mark, much to the delight of the crowd. Williams did not rest on her laurels and finished Round 1 impressively by landing

110

three punches and one kick to the trunk. The score going into the second round was 7-0 in Williams’ favour. Jelic tried to get back into the fight early on as she forced Williams into conceding an early gamjeom. However, that only seemed to spur Williams on further, as she successfully and skilfully extended her lead to 10-1. Much like the second, Jelic started the final round strongly by landing a kick to the trunk. However, Williams responded with a

reverse kick, followed by a punch to the trunk. The final moments of the round were frantic as both fighters pushed to claim Grand Prix glory. However, it was Williams who claimed a convincing 15-9 victory and won her first Grand Prix title of 2018, prompting the biggest cheer of the day from the crowd. The bronze medals were shared by Victoria Tamez of Mexico and Nur Tatar Askari of Turkey.

Pre-tournament favorite, Daehoon Lee of Korea, and Mirhashem Hosseini of Iran repeated their rivalry at the Taoyuan Grand Prix. Lee began the fight with intent, as he successfully landed three kicks to the trunk within 30 seconds. Hosseini managed to compose himself as he successfully landed a punch, followed by a body kick, cutting Lee’s lead to just three points. The second round began with both athletes conceding early gamjeoms. Both fighters managed to score points in what was an incredibly frantic last few moments of the round. However, it was Lee who took a 11-7 lead going into the final round. Hosseini came out strongly in Round 3 as he looked to reduce the deficit. Unfortunately, a clash of legs meant that Hosseini had to withdraw from the fight, leaving Lee to claim his third Grand Prix title of 2018. Si Mohamed Ketbi of Belgium and Bradly Sinden of Great Britain claimed the bronzes.

111


W +67kg

Local hero and pre-tournament favourite, Bianca Walkden of Great Britain and Rio Olympic Champion Shuyin Zheng of China fought a captivating final. The opening round began with loud cheers of support from the crowd for Walkden. It was a cautious round, as neither fighter wanted to give anything away. In the end, no points were scored. Round 2 began in an equally cagey fashion. It was Zheng who landed the first blow with a punch to the trunk. Walken responded with a kick to the trunk of her own, only for Zheng to regain her lead with a kick to the trunk. Another punch to the trunk from Zheng meant that she took a 4-1 lead going into the final round. Walkden came out fighting, but just couldn’t break Zheng’s impressive resistance. Zheng landed another punch to the trunk to extend her lead to four points. The home crowd remained optimistic though, as Walkden continued to attack. Zheng landed another punch to the trunk and the match seemed to be out of sight. However, Walkden forced her opponent into conceding three consecutive gamjeoms to bring the scores back to 6-4 in Zheng’s favour with five seconds to spare. Much to the disappointment of the crowd, Walkden just couldn’t land that final winning blow. In the end, Zheng claimed a 6-4 victory and secured her first Grand Prix of the year. Maria Espinoza of Mexico and Pan Gao of China shared the bronze medals.

112

M -80kg

The penultimate final of the Grand Prix featured home-grown hero, Damon Sansum of Great Britain and Raul Martinez Garcia of Spain. Martinez Garcia started strongly with a kick to the head after just 10 seconds. He followed that up soon after with a kick to the trunk to put himself 5-0 up. Sansum valiantly fought back by landing two punches to the trunk, only for Martinez Garcia to regain his five-point lead with a kick to the trunk. Round 2 began cagily, as Martinez Garcia defended well; Sansum just couldn’t break his resistance. Martinez Garcia went on to land two punches, followed by two kicks to the trunk to take an 11-point lead into the last round. The animated crowd tried their best to cheer Sansum back into the fight, but Martinez Garcia remained composed. Martinez Garcia forced Sansum into conceding two gamjeons in the third round, before landing a skilful kick to the head to put the fight almost out of reach. A frantic last 10 seconds saw both fighters score points, but the result was never in doubt. Martinez Garcia beat Sansum 22-7 to claim his first ever Grand Prix title. The bronze medals were claimed by Seif Eissa of Egypt and Nikita Rafalovich of Uzbekistan.

113


Maisie Catt Thrills with Skills

M

+80kg The last final of the day featured the pre-tournament top two seeds, Vladislav Larin of Russia and Kyo-don In of Korea. Both fighters defended well in the opening stages with no points being scored until the minute mark, when Larin landed a kick to the trunk. Both fighters finished the round strongly with a punch each. Round 2 started as cagily as the first. Laurin defended impressively as he prevented an onslaught of attacks from In; no points were scored in the round. In came out fighting in the third and instantly levelled the scores with a kick to the trunk. Larin showed impressive footwork to regain his two-point lead with a kick to the trunk. A frantic 10 seconds saw Larin land another kick to the trunk before conceding two gamjeoms, leaving the scores tight at 7-4. In gave everything he had to reduce his deficit further. He cut the score to 7-6 with a kick to the trunk, but it proved to be in vain as Larin held out to claim gold. That was Larin’s third Grand Prix title of the year, following victories in Rome and Taoyuan. Sajjad Mardani of Iran and Hongyi Sun of China shared the bronze medals.

114

During the Manchester Grand Prix, rising para taekwondo star Maisie Catt showed off some inspirational skills in front of World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue and a packed crowd. At just 10-months-old, Maisie was diagnosed with meningitis, forcing her to have both legs amputated and replaced with prosthetic limbs. However, Maisie’s impairment didn’t hold her back from taking up taekwondo. “I started doing taekwondo because of my brother. He seemed to really enjoy it and it looked like fun,” said the young Brit. From then on, Maisie hasn’t looked back. Just nine months into her taekwondo journey, Maisie has already been selected for the Great Britain Taekwondo Para-Poomsae Squad and has recently received her

green belt. After learning about Maisie’s incredible story, President Choue invited her and her family to Manchester to watch and meet some of her idols in the taekwondo world, including Bianca Walkden and Jade Jones. Maisie enjoyed a day that she deserves and will never forget. “I loved meeting my favourite athletes. Meeting Jade was really cool. I can’t believe I’ve met the president too!” said Maisie. Following Maisie’s demonstration, Choue was full of praise for her attitude and taekwondo skills. “When I heard about your inspirational story, I was truly touched by your determination and passion for taekwondo,” he said. “It has been great to meet you and see some of your excellent skills! You are an in-

spiration for people around the world and a true credit to our sport.” Maisie’s story will undoubtedly inspire others around the world to take up taekwondo, which is something she is incredibly honoured by. “I’m proud that my story makes others want to take up taekwondo. It makes me feel happy!” she said. “Now, I just want to keep practicing and getting better and better!” Maisie’s story has highlighted taekwondo’s ability to inspire, to bring hope, and to change lives. If her showing at the Manchester Grand Prix is anything to go by, Maisie certainly has the attitude, determination and talent to realise her dreams and become a future para taekwondo star.

Competitions

115


FUJ AIR R AH 116

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Grand Finale: Fury in Fujairah FUJAIRAH, UAE NOV.22-23, 2018

2018 WORLD TA E K WO N D O GRAND PRIX FINAL

A

World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final came to the Middle East for the first time ever in 2018, taking place in Fujairah, UAE. The crowning event of the 2018 season invited 127 athletes from 39 countries to the mats for a two-day battle. Fujairah’s Zayed Sports Complex complex, set against a backdrop of mountains, proved a superb venue for both the opening ceremony and the combat. Among the VIPs in attendance in the evening opening ceremony was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. The opening ceremony started with a sound and light show playing over a massive LED screen that showcased both Fujairah, “The city of sea and mountains,” and scenes of taekwondo action. After speeches by local dignitaries, WT President Chungwon Choue took to the floor. “The Grand Prix Final is one of the most prestigious events in taekwondo’s calendar, and it is wonderful to hold them here in Fujairah,” Choue said. “This is the first time they have been held in the Middle East, ever. This is very important as it shows WT’s geographic reach is extending, and taekwondo is truly a universal sport.” A show by the famed World Taekwondo Demonstration Team followed, with team members wearing local headgear in a nod to Arabic culture. Poomsae, blindfold breaks, and of course, high-altitude aerial breaks were performed, with team members incorporating local swords and dance elements in the performance. The taekwondo performance on the mats was flanked by two groups of locals at the sides of the arena. Wearing traditional white gowns, wielding camel switches, swords and rifles, they danced while the taekwondo team spun and flew. With Tokyo 2020 fast approaching, and with valuable ranking points up for grabs, heated action was the name of the game as combat got underway.

Competitions

117 117


W -49kg The final pitted So-hui Kim of Korea against Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand: Two very well-matched fighters. Round 1 ended with Kim one point up. The second saw the tempo rise: The board rose to 5-5, with the taller Thai the aggressor, but Kim – a master defensive fighter – countering effectively. There was torrid combat in the third, with both fighters firing mid- and high-level kicks. In the last seconds, Kim retreated, but ended the match 10-8 for the gold. The bronze was won by Jae-young Sim of Korea.

M -58kg

Korean rookie Jun Jang took on Spain’s Jesus Tortosa Cabrera. The shorter Jang opened the scoring, with an effortless back kick to the body; the Spaniard returned fire with a head kick and Round 1 ended 10-3 to Jang. The second round was scrappier, with pushing, shoving and kicking; it ended 14-8 to the Korean. The third saw fine technique from both players but it ended with a gold for Jang and a final score of 21-12. Bronze was won by Italy’s Vito Dell’Aquila on a bye.

-68kg The final in this highly competitive category was a Korean civil war: Superstar Dae-hoon Lee versus Seok-bae Kim. Round 1 saw Lee go to work and deliver a stern lesson to his junior, leading the board with a massive point gap. In the second, Lee – ambidextrous, inexhaustible, flexible – was 31-8 up. In the third, Lee’s high round kick and jump spinning back kick drew gasps from the crowd: The man is the closest thing taekwondo has to a kicking machine. A desperate Kim even tried an arcing, dive kick, but though he racked up an impressive 20 points, Lee’s 65 score won a superb gold. Lovre Brecic of Croatia took bronze.

-57kg Ah-reum Lee of Korea took on Nikita Glasnovic of Croatia with both players kicking with unusual venom and Round 1 ending 5-3 to the Croatian. In Round 2, Lee draw ahead, keeping a cool head in the eye of the storm and ending the second 10-5 up. Round 3 ended with the board at 11-7 to Lee- but it had been an excellent performance from the Croatian. Marta Calvo Gomez of Spain took bronze.

118

118

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

119


-67kg

W

-80kg

World Champion Nur Tatar Askari of Turkey took on Jandi Kim of Korea and drew first blood, but Kim returned fire and Round 1 concluded 2-2; so did Round 2. This was a very well-matched bout. In the last 20 seconds of the third, it was 3-3; in the final seconds, it ended 5-5. In golden round, Tatar-Askari connected to the body, granting her gold. Matea Jelic of Croatia had to be satisfied with bronze.

Russia’s Maksim “Red Machine” Khramtcov took on Norway’s Richard Andre Ordemann in a firefight that was probably the best bout of the night. Round 1 ended 4-4 after exhaustive work from both athletes. In the second, Khramtcov played his flexible, creative multi-kick leg game against the more conservative Norwegian – but the latter was more accurate, and Round 2 ended 10-9 to Ordemann. In the third, a textbook round kick from Ordemann stunned the Russian, but Khramtcov returned fire with spinning and ax kicks. It ended with a tremendous 27-14 surprise win by Ordemann against Khramtcov – one of the most dominant players in the game. Bronze was won by Olympic champion Cheick Sallah Cisse of Cote d’Ivoire in golden round.

M +80kg

+67kg This pitted double-World Champion Bianca “Queen Bee” Walkden of Great Britain against Olympic Champion Shuyin “The Beautiful Giraffe” Zheng of China. These two have clashed many, many times before and the Bee attacked deep into the Giraffe’s defenses, employing a classic close-range strategy against the taller player. Round 1 ended

120

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

4-2 Walkden and Round 2 ended 6-4 Walkden, but in the third a high kick put Zheng ahead 7-6 – then Walkden was penalized for holding. Another super-fast head kick from Zheng put the board at 10-8. After a very rough last 20 seconds, Zheng won gold 17-8. The bronze medal went to Nafia “The Amazon” Kus of Turkey.

Vladislav Larin of Russia took on Kyo-don “The Bear” In of Korea. Round 1 started with psychological war and exchanges of side kicks, but neither man was landing. It ended 0-0. The second continued the same way, before Larin drew ahead 3-1 with body kick and a punch. In the third, in woke up and the tempo of this cagey match lifted. In the final seconds, both were battling on the edge of the area, unleashing spin back kicks and ax kicks. It ended 5-1 to Larin – who exalted with a roar at his gold. Iran’s Sajjad Mardani took bronze, via superiority in golden round.

121

Competitions

121


FUJAIRAH 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO Grand Prix FINAL

ATHLETE IN FOCUS

Dae-hoon Lee: Leading Man He is a demon trainer in the gym, and an ice-cold fighting machine on the mats. But off them, Dae-hoon Lee is taekwondo’s Mr. Nice Guy

The final of the men’s -68kg category at the 2018 Grand Prix Final in Fujairah would prove to be an extraordinary match. Not because it was fought between two Koreans – Team Korea was on a roll at the end of the fighting season, and it is not unusual for team members to face off against each other – but because of the points that were scored. It pitted superstar Dae-hoon Lee against Seok-bae Kim. Round 1 saw Lee go to work and deliver a stern lesson to his junior team mate, leading the board with a massive point gap. In the second, Lee – ambidextrous, inexhaustible, flexible – was 31-8 up. In the third, Lee’s high round kick and jump spinning back kick drew gasps from the crowd: The man is the closest thing taekwondo has to a kicking machine. A desperate Kim even tried an arcing, dive kick, but though he racked up an impressive 20 points, Lee’s score was 65 – the kind of points more common in basketball than taekwondo. “I had to check my camera,” said WT Council Member In-seon Kim, who watched the match. “65-20!” The same evening, at the National Theater, Lee won yet another honor: WT’s “Male Player of the Year” Award. In short, Lee is the most dominant player in the game and the most admired among his peers. Why is he so good?

122

122

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

123


Train Hard, Fight Smart

124

Longevity and genetics are two reasons, for Lee was born into the game: He started taekwondo at his father’s dojang as a toddler. “When I was five, I started learning taekwondo,” he said. “Through growing up, with taekwondo, I love taekwondo.” But while Lee is a heavy hitter on the mats, off them he is soft-spoken and self-effacing. Asked the secret to his sportive excellence, he says, simply, “I train hard and I think a lot.” According to persons familiar with the game, those are understatements. “When he was studying at Yongin University, he was playing at -58kg and he would do four training sessions a day, then he would go running at night to lose weight,” said WT TV Commentator John Cullen. “He ran so much, that he has this amazing heart and lung capacity.” Today, though he is still as lean as a whip, Lee is powerful with it. And

in the new game – pushing has been allowed since 2017 – upper body strength is a bonus. “He is physically strong,” said Cullen. “Nobody outwrestles him in the clinch.” Lee boasts the kind of cardio capacity even other Olympic-grade taekwondo fighters lack. “In Wuxi, he was the only one who could stay at the same level over five rounds,” said WT Education Committee Chairman Philippe Bouedo – a reference to the five-, rather than three-round, format that was trialed at last year’s Grand Slam series in Wuxi, China. Backing up his weapons-grade aerobic system is Lee’s fighting efficiency. “He never kiaps – I have never heard him kiap,” said Cullen. The kiap is the yell martial arts fighters originally employed to focus their technique. Though audibly impressive, it takes a lot of breath. In modern taekwondo, many fighters kiap to demonstrate their fortitude,

or to signal a point. Lee has no need to do either. All this makes the Korean a dangerous combination of natural talent and super-trainer. Lee himself admits that if he was not in taekwondo, he could never be an office worker. “I’d be an athlete: I’d do baseball, ping pong or soccer.” Yet his talent extends beyond heart, lung and muscle to eyes and brain. In 2017, collecting his Male Player of the Year award, he said, in English, “I learn so much from watching you guys.” He was not just being kind to his peers: Lee is one of the best-prepared fighters on the mats. “I analyze a lot,” he said. “I don’t just watch my opponents, I watch fighters from all divisions, all the good players – even the women. “ “He really studies his opponents,” added Bouedo. “He fights differently according to the player.”

danger-distance,” the WT commentator said. “He’s a killer!” added Cullen. “He looks so quiet and kind – but he is a baby-faced assassin.” “I enjoy watching his fights, he does everything he wants to do on the court,” said Mahdi “The Terminator” Khodabahshki, the master fighter Team Iran rolls out when it needs a last-second win. “He is a legend in taekwondo.”

“He is the best fighter I have ever seen: When he does taekwondo, he is playing – it is a game for him!” added Haby Niara, Team France’s Rio silver medalist. “I am jealous!” So what is left in the game for this “baby-faced assassin?” “I enjoy taekwondo; I think that’s important,” Lee said. “I have got everything except Olympic gold, but I would do anything for a happy life.”

Nice Guy, Killer Kicker His kicks are not just hard and frequent, they are as accurate at heat-seeking missiles. “His ratio of kicks to points is like a machine – it’s like another member of Team Korea has a remote control!” said Bouedo. “Bam-bam-bam - unique!” The reason Lee is such a high scorer, according to WT Commentator Cullen, is his no-fear approach to distance management. “The reason he is so accurate is that he stands at

124

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

125


FUJAIRAH 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO Grand Prix FINAL

ATHLETE IN FOCUS

Richard Andre Ordemann:

Flying Under the Radar In Fujairah, in one of the shock surprises of the season, a Norwegian unknown took out one of the most dominant fighters in the game

The biggest shock of the 2018 Grand Prix Final came in the gold medal match of the highly competitive men’s -80kg category. There, odds-on favorite and World Champion Maksim “Red Machine” Khramtcov of Russia took to the mats against Richard Andre Ordemann of Norway. On paper, the Russian should have walked away with the victory. It did not happen. After exhaustive work from both athletes Round 1 ended 4-4. In the second, both players settled into their games and went to work with two very different styles of play. Khramtcov played his flexible, creative, multi-kick leg game against the more conservative Norwegian – but it was the latter who was more accurate. Round 2 ended

126

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

127

10-9 to Ordemann. In the third, the intensity would accelerate. A superb round kick to the face from Ordemann drew gasps from the crowd and looked like it stunned the Russian. “Most of my head shots have a bit of power behind them,” the Norwegian said after the fight. “It puts them in a mental state that I quite like.” Khramtcov shook it off and returned fire with spinning kicks and his trademark ax kick, but the Norwegian remained calm in the midst of the onslaught and continued racking up points against the charging Russian. The bout ended with a 27-14 surprise win by Ordemann against Khramtcov – one of the most dominant players in the game.

Competitions

127


“I felt in control in the closely contested first rounds, and in the third, the points sort of ran away,” he said in fight post-mortem. “It went according to plan – but my plans were quite simplistic; I don’t go into detail. That limits myself.” “I have been sneaking under the radar a bit,” he admitted. “I have not had massive medals and I have not been really big on posting online, trying to get a big following.” Like all the players in Fujairah, Ordemann’s eyes are fixed on 2020: an Olympic year. That means 2019 is going to be a critical – and intense – fighting season. “Tokyo is very much on the horizon, and this medal puts me in a good spot for qualifying. That is the goal – to qualify through the rankings,” he said. “My Olympic ranking is 12th, but I need to be in the top six.” Physical conditioning is obviously going to be to the fore. “Injuries you can’t really do much about; if it happens, it happens,” he said. “So I do a lot of ‘prehab’ – exercises to prevent injuries.”

Asked to name his favorite fighters, he said: “I like aggressive players – so Maksim, Milad Beigi Harchegani [of Azerbaijan] and Dae-hoon Lee.” Regarding Lee – the Korean kicking machine who racked up an astonishing 65 points in his final match in Fujairah – Ordemann said: “It was just non-stop, and he looks very relaxed.” Taekwondo, then, is clearly front and center for the brand-new Grand Prix champion. And now that he has branded his name firmly on the taekwondo map with his victory in Fujairah, Ordemann is not going away. “This is the start of something good: I think you will be seeing a lot more of me on the podiums in the future,” he said. “I am here to stay!

128 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

128

Competitions

129


130

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

131


FUJAIRAH 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO Grand Prix FINAL

Ksenia Choucha and Mohamed Adel Abdelfattah:

REFEREES

Inspired Positivity Animates Refs of Year

In many sports, referees are in a no-win situation, but for WT’s top officiators of 2018, camaraderie that cuts across all borders and barriers is what keeps them wearing the blue jackets

Bonding across Borders So what makes a great ref? They should be “professional, passionate, honest and confident” suggested the Belorussian; they need to be “educated, transparent, focused and well behaved,” reckoned the Egyptian. They also need to be friendly – because what is evident at every WT event is that there are powerful bonds of camaraderie among the international referee corps. “The atmosphere is real friendship, and this helps the work,” said Choucha. “We spend time together, we spend a week together, and this

helps us understand each other on the court – it’s team work.” Abdelfattah concurred. “This really comes from [WT Referee Committee Chairman] Songchul Kim, he treats us like brothers and sisters, he never says ‘No’ to anyone – he is like a big brother,” he said. “We feel comfortable staying with the refs, we talk the same language: We are a very good family on court or off court.” The international friendships among the refs have generated a curious linguistic quirk. “It is funny: When we are in a small group, we can

speak in five or six languages as we all know a few words from this or that language,” said Choucha. “You can’t create this atmosphere intentionally. It happens by itself.” For both these top refs, it all comes down to people. “This is why I continue to work in this amazing sport,” Choucha said. “It is inspirational because you have the opportunity to meet great people from all over the world.”

Changing the Rules, Upgrading the Spectacle Sport referees are in a lose-lose situation: They are overlooked and ignored when things go well, furiously blamed when things go badly. For this reason, you might expect a litany of complaints when you speak to refs off the field of play. However, you won’t hear any negativity from WT’s 2018 Referees of the Year – Ksenia Choucha of Belarus and Mohamed Adel Abdelfattah of Egypt. “In general, taekwondo is an amazing sport: We have only good people,” said Choucha, speaking the day after the Gala Awards night where the two had received their accolades at the National Theater of Fujairah. “I don’t know how it works, but it works: Everyone – athletes, coaches, referees – has passion and big hearts, they are all positive people. Angry people do not stay long in taekwondo. They come and they go.” 134

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

However, with WT constantly tweaking rules in order to upgrade taekwondo’s spectacle, referees are under pressure to keep up to date with an ever-evolving game.

All for the Love of Taekwondo Both refs have been in taekwondo for a long time, and both were players before turning to officiating. Choucha coaches children and deaf children; both also have children who have taken up the sport. “My son is also playing taekwondo, he is watching every game and he loves the players and he asks me, ‘Why did you give a gamjeon for this one?’” Abdelfattah said. “So I learn from others – my children and my colleagues! This is experience of life.” A key plus for the referees is that they get to share the mats with the heroes competing at the very highest level of the sport, and that is an achievement in and of itself, Choucha reckons.

“It is very important to show that you can reach any kind of dream in your life – work harder, dream bigger!” she said. “We see on TV people who did a good job, and they get professional and high level in some field or some subject – but that is far but someone close to you. This shows that if you work hard, you can catch the dream.” And of course, international referees get to enjoy international travel. “For me the planet is very small; we come from winter to summer, from one continent to another,” Choucha said. “It’s amazing, it’s great – you want to stay in this moment.”

“We do a lot of seminars and meetings and train a lot to achieve this goal of improving taekwondo – this is important to keep us learning,” said Abdelfattah. “It is not so easy – we try to do our best. Referee mistakes are part of the game, but we try in our heart to improve.” While the PSS has obviated the potential for judging errors, another issue for the referees,

who wield the powerful gamjeon penalties, is the rising standard of elite-level taekwondo athletes across the board. “I don’t think the referee can influence the game more than 25 years ago, I think it is the same, but the level of the athletes is getting higher and they are reaching the same level, so it often happens that the game is point-topoint,” said Choucha. “Years ago, the athletes were different levels, they were not so similar, but now one or two gamjeons can influence the game.” In terms of changes to the game, it is not just rules. In recent years, WT has been upgrading the presentation surrounding the game – rock music between rounds, flashing LED displays, light shows, and more razzmatazz overall. “Now the games are more and more dynamic and the venues are more bright, fresher – it’s amazing!” said Choucha. “From competition to competition we have something new – how we organize the court, the positions around

the court. “We are developing every day and I want to thank those behind the cameras, they work hard to create these beautiful competitions like Wuxi and Grand Slam – it is amazing!” added Abdelfattah. “If it is like this, we will be a success in Tokyo.” Choucha compares the organization of competitions to a well-engineered machine with all moving parts working in synch. “I have to thank our leadership because what I like nowadays in taekwondo is the connections – the connection between athletes, coaches, referees and organizing committees,” Choucha said. “Now we see this is all working together like an automobile!” As a result of these elements, taekwondo is becoming a benchmark among its peers. “Our sport has become the most important martial art, and other martial arts are learning from us how to manage championships,” said Abdelfattah. “I am very proud of this.” Competitions

135


WT S-class International Kyorugi Referees (as of January 15, 2019) CONTINENT

COUNTRY

IR Number

NAME

PRO DATE

GENDER

Asia

Chinese Taipei

010-0568 010-0560 010-0570 029-0098 006-0257 024-0987 018-0852 018-2053 025-0002 025-0027 025-0030 025-0026 038-0176 034-0143 001-0154 001-0155 002-0282 002-0088 016-0753 002-0083 002-0118 002-0070 002-0086 016-0752 016-0766 016-0737 016-0750 025-0004 029-0004 034-0114 038-0075

Sung Kuang Sen KIM Sa Ok Mao Kee Lung Chun-Feng Chen Charles Mok Hung Fai MOON Myoung Gon Acen Tanuwijaya Herman Andikara Mojtaba Nazmdeh Nasser Bagheri Mehdi Kashanian Yadollah Rezvani Mohammad Amin Namjou Tareq M.T. Al-Wiher MOON Chang Nam HONG Jeong Boo PARK Hyun Sup LEE Kyu Hyung CHOI Jung Ho KIM Kang Ein KIM Ki Yong KANG Sun Jang LEE Sang Hyun HAN Sang Jin KIM Kil Lae OH Soo Gon CHANG Myeong Soo KIM Hwa Ryong Seok Han Kang Dong Cheon HAM Young Hwan CHOI

2000/12/31 2002/12/31 2004/06/30 2015/12/31 2002/06/30 2010/06/30 2011/12/31 2012/12/31 2010/12/31 2015/12/31 2015/12/31 2017/12/31 2017/12/31 2015/12/31 1994/09/10 1994/09/10 1998/06/30 2000/12/31 2000/12/31 2001/12/31 2002/06/30 2003/06/30 2003/12/31 2008/06/30 2008/06/30 2008/12/31 2009/12/31 2012/12/31 2014/12/31 2014/12/31 2017/12/31

Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male

Hong Kong Indonesia Iran

Jordan Korea

CONTINENT

Europe

COUNTRY

IR Number

NAME

PRO DATE

GENDER

Macau Malaysia

025-0001 015-0687 015-0692 015-0685 024-2121 025-0107 006-0594 025-0211 034-0179 038-0054 021-0952 021-2091 013-0623 035-0031 013-0640 021-1128 025-0208 029-0114 008-1034 001-0170 038-0215 030-0001 025-0020 021-1125 030-0002 016-0787 025-0018 035-0038 038-0226 029-0134 013-0632

Wai Pui William Wong Kalanayagam A.R. Nadarajan Tai Loke Woon Deep Raj Gurung Roland Gayo Campos Abubakr A.K. Kordi Teong Chin Lim Ishak Mohamed Xuan Thanh Vu Gholam Reza Shojaie Aliabadi Miroslav Brezan Panikos Loizou Benjamin John Denis Odjo BAEK Jin Kun Constantin ZABBAL Kostas Kaloudis Avi Kadouri Tricoli Lorenzo SEO Myung Soo Frans Flinsenberg Gerard A.M. Kanters Jessica B. Stenholm Dariusz Nowicki Sergey A.Danilov LEE Sang Soon KIM Chang Yang Camilo Aleman Macias Carmen Navarro Ingles Chakir Chelbat Galip Ziya Yalginkaya

2013/12/31 2008/12/31 2008/12/31 2010/12/31 2017/12/31 2013/12/31 2001/06/30 2016/12/31 2018/12/31 2017/12/31 2011/12/31 2015/12/31 2008/12/31 2015/12/31 2008/06/30 2015/12/31 2017/12/31 2014/12/31 2000/12/31 1998/12/31 2017/12/31 2018/12/31 2010/12/31 2014/12/31 2010/12/31 2014/12/31 2015/12/31 2015/12/31 2018/12/31 2011/12/31 2009/12/31

Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Male

Nepal Philippine Saudi Arabia Singapore U.A.E Vietnam Austria Croatia Cyprus France Germany Greece Israel Italy Netherlands

Norway Poland Russia Spain

Sweden Turkey

CONTINENT

Pan America

COUNTRY

IR Number

NAME

PRO DATE

GENDER

UK

013-0654 025-0102 015-0712 038-0163 001-0162 008-0572 015-0684 029-0045 020-0936 038-0037 020-0938 020-0945 033-0036 012-1061 015-0703 022-2077 029-0132 033-0002 013-0604 033-0031 020-1104 001-0175 005-0225 002-0281 002-0069 002-0100 019-0861 002-0072 013-0625 019-2059 019-0866 019-0910 029-0141 029-0143 019-0865 029-0142 038-0025 038-0067 015-0673 038-0005 018-0848 018-1082 013-0634 013-0633 028-0101 029-0123 029-0042 034-0172 020-0939

Tong Wan SHIN Ian Leafe Maria Andrea Mancuso Jose Eduardo Cornelio LEE Byung Kyu Ken Wai-Kin Cheung YU Myung Ok Linda Kwan Denis Yew Pyn Chen Antoine ACHKOUTI Nelson Brizuela Cortes Wen Hong Huang Sue Jionschyon Kim Morales Sergio Chavez Rafael Jesus Ruelas Reyes Roberto Lopez Lopez Miguel Angel Carrillo Jorge Reynoso Cruz Varo Barragan Benites Reinaltt Arles Javier Ramon Olivieri Sanchez LEE Young Keun KIM Koang Woong KIM Young Sam LEE Eui Bin KIM Dong Sup Bruce HARRIS PARK In Kon Gregory S. Kailian William Sullivan Leon PRESTON Myung Chan KIM Stephen C. Dring Bernard Ellis Robinson John Holloway Valerie A. Long Chuong Tien PHAM Anne Gray CHASE Raymond HSU James Charles Montgomery JEONG Ki Young Mohamed Riad Ibrahim KIM Yong Kwang Snosy A. Mohamed Benali Youssef Samuel Michael Loiacono Khim Hua SENG Rene Raymond Leveaux Stephen Liu

2015/12/31 2013/12/31 2012/12/31 2018/12/31 1994/09/10 2002/12/31 2007/06/30 2012/12/31 2014/12/31 2018/12/31 2011/12/31 2013/12/31 2016/12/31 2005/12/31 2010/06/30 2015/12/31 2015/12/31 2015/12/31 2006/08/02 2017/12/31 2016/12/31 1994/09/10 1996/01/01 2000/12/31 2000/12/31 2000/12/31 2000/12/31 2006/06/30 2010/06/30 2011/12/31 2012/12/31 2013/12/31 2014/12/31 2015/12/31 2016/12/31 2016/12/31 2017/12/31 2017/12/31 2018/12/31 2018/12/31 2006/12/31 2010/12/31 2007/06/30 2009/06/30 2018/12/31 2010/12/31 2014/12/31 2015/12/31 2011/12/31

Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male

Argentina Aruba Canada

Costa Rica Ecuador Guatemala Mexico

Panama Peru Puerto Rico U.S.A.

Africa

Egypt Libya

Oceania

Morocco Australia

New Zealand

WT S-class International Poomsae Referees (as of January 15, 2019) CONTINENT

COUNTRY

IR Number

NAME

PRO DATE

GENDER

Asia

Korea Singapore Germany UK Egypt

006-0021 006-0055 001-0127 003-0018 001-0001

In Ok Yang Teong Chin Lim Bruckel Wolfgang Tong Wan Shin Ki Young JEONG

2018/12/31 2016/12/31 2017/12/31 2016/12/31 2016/12/31

Female Male Male Male Male

Europe Africa

Competitions

137


TAIPEI 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO

POOMSAE CHAMPIONSHIPS Grace, power, coordination and control were on full display as Chinese Taipei hosted the globe’s top poomsae players Photography by Conner Lee / Xiao Qi

Taipei City, Chinese Taipei

Nov. 15-18, 2018 Korea, Chinese Taipei and Mexico came out on top at the Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Chinese Taipei. The world’s leading poomsae event kicked off for a fourday run at University of Taipei’s Tian-mu Gymnasium in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, on Nov. 15, 2018. With 1,274 athletes and 248 officials registered, and 59 countries represented, the spectable in Taipei was the largest WT poomsae championships in history. If kyorugi, or sparring, is the “martial” side of taekwondo, poomsae, or patterns, is the “art” side. Poomsae require flexibility, agility, balance, power and grace, and is an excellent exercise regime as well as a competitive event. The championships in Taipei City encompass traditional and freestyle poomsae, as well as both solo and team events. Poomsae is increasing its share of voice in taekwondo. It made its Asian Games debut at the 18th Asian Games Jakarta - Palembang 2018 and will also be included in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru – which, incidentally, was the venue for the last WT Poomsae Championships. “The WT Poomsae Championships is one of the key events on the taekwondo calendar and I look forward to seeing our poomsae stars shine in Taipei,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. “Traditional poomsae offers a great exercise regimen for people of all ages, while freestyle poomsae, with its emphasis on creative movement, grabs the attention of global youth. For these reasons, WT will be increasing its priority on poomsae in the years ahead.”

138

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Championships Competitions

139


DAY

1

Record World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships Explode into Action

The Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships exploded into action on an exhilarating first day, which saw Korea claim gold in four out of a possible six categories. Athletes battled it out at the University of Taipei Gymnasium in recognized poomsae individual male under 60, team male over 30, pair under 30, individual male junior,

140

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

freestyle mixed team under 17, freestyle individual female over 17. Korea captured four golds by winning the recognized poomsae team male over 30 event and the pair under 30 events, whilst Sang-hyo Jeong and Seong-un Hong won gold in the individual male under 60 and individual male junior categories, respectively.

Mexico, Iran, Germany and Korea Share the Medals

Chinese Taipei was victorious in the freestyle mixed team under 17 event, much to the delight of the ever-animated home crowd, whilst Adalis Munoz of USA picked up the final gold of the day in the freestyle individual female over 17 category. .

The second day of the Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships concluded with Mexico, Iran, Germany and Korea all winning gold medals. Once again, the championships showcased the universality of taekwondo with male and female cadet teams competing all the way through to individual female athletes under 60 years old and individual male athletes over 65 years old. In the individual female under 60 category, Germany’s Imke Turner claimed gold while Byung-chae Lee of Korea won gold in the individual male over 65 with both athletes demonstrating that in taekwondo, age is just a number. Korea had further success in

DAY

2

the senior age categories with Yeon-bu Kim and Jae-sam Song winning the individual female and individual male under 50 respectively, Jae-won Lee winning the individual male under 30 and Mee-hyun Kim winning gold in the individual female under 40. The only other senior age category gold medal went to Iran’s National Team in the team female over 30. Korea also enjoyed success in the team events as they won gold in the team female junior and male team and female team cadet. In the only freestyle competition of the day, Mexico’s William Arroyo won in the individual male under 17 category.

Competitions

141


DAY

3

Chinese Taipei, US, Mexico, Iran and Korea Grab Golds on Day 3 of Tourney

Korea, Chinese Taipei, Mexico, Iran and US Come out on Top as Poomsae Championships Come to a Close

DAY

4

The record-breaking Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships ended with Portugal, Iran, Chinese Taipei and Korea winning gold medals on the final day. Chinese Taipei won their third gold of the championships and 23rd medal in total with a win in the freestyle mixed team over 17. Eduarda Ferraz won a rare gold for Portugal in the individual female over 65 while Cecilia Lee won Mexico’s third gold in the freestyle individual female under 17 to give her nation a third-place finish in the overall standings. Ali Salmani from Iran won the recognized poomsae individual male under 40, Iran’s third gold, which gave his country a fourth-place finish. Korea continued its excellent form on the final day, winning the recognized poomsae pair junior and freestyle pair under 17 categories. Chang-hyun Lee and Joo-yeong Lee won their nation further gold medals in the individual male cadet and female cadet. Korea finished as clear winner of the championships topping the medal table, with Chinese Taipei, Mexico, Iran and USA making up the rest of the top five.

At the conclusion of the four-day event, the following MVP awards were presented:

Chinese Taipei, the US, Mexico, Iran and Korea all won gold medals on the third day of the Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships. Korean players continued their excellent form at the championships as they claimed seven more gold medals across the team and individual events. Korea’s Dong-kyun Seo won Korea’s only

142

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

individual gold in recognized poomsae as he took the top honors in the male under 65. The rest of Korea’s medals were won in the pair cadet, team male junior, team male under 30 and team female under 30 categories. Hometown favorite Chieh-Yu Li from Taipei won gold in the individual female junior much to the delight of the crowd while Julie Tregeagle from the US won gold in the indi-

vidual female under 65. Mexico and Iran made it gold on consecutive days at the championships as Paula Fregoso from Mexico took individual female under 30 and Iran won in the pairs over 30. Korea won both golds available in the two freestyle poomsae events, winning the pair category while Tae-joo Na won the individual male over 17.

Active Participation Prize Senegal National Team

Freestlye Poomsae Female MVP Adalis Munoz (USA)

Good Fighting Spirit Prize Denmark National Team

Best Coach Male Team Ahn-hyo Yeol (Korea)

Recognized Poomsae Male MVP Jae-won Lee (Korea)

Best Coach Female Team Lee-myung Oh (Korea)

Recognized Poomsae Female MVP Paula Fregoso (Mexico)

Best Referee Fredy Wuthrich (Switzerland) Feng Ming Tou (Chinese Taipei)

Freestyle Poomsae Male MVP Tae-joo Na (Korea)

Competitions

143


144

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

145


Rhodes, Greece

April 25-28, 2018

World Taekwondo unpacked its sunglasses and spread out the suntan lotion as the 2nd World Taekwondo Beach Championships got underway on the historic island of Rhodes, Greece, over 25-28 April, 2018. The Nautical Club of Rhodes, beside the sparkling Aegean, provided the venue; it had been customized especially for the event. The medieval architecture of Rhodes itself, a UNESCO World Heritage site, provided a magnificent inland backdrop.

It was fun in the Aegean sun as Rhodes ran with the World Taekwondo Beach Championships for a second straight year Photography by Nikos Karanikolas / Sakis Goumpasis

146

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

147


Beach taekwondo takes the sport out of the stadia and into the sunshine

Beach taekwondo offers WT’s poomsae athlets a new venue to show off their skills. The atmosphere in Rhodes was upbeat a competitors from poomase teams from across the world kicked and punched, tricked and flipped in the sunshine. Beach taekwondo is the only format in the sport to take place in open air, rather than in a stadium.

148

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

149


Power kicks, aerial flips, funky tricks Beach taekwondo offers a more relaxed uniform code than any other WT event, giving competitors the opportunity to customize their gear, wear shades - and even show off a bit of muscle.

150

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

151


Rhodes provided the perfect backdrop for displays of martial mastery Gold medalists for Recognized Poomsae are as follows. Individual Male Under 17

Michelangelo Sampognaro (Italy)

Individual Male Under 30

Frans Salmi (Finland)

Individual Male Over 30

Othman Boularas (Qatar)

Individual Female Under 17 Eva Sandersen (Denmark) Individual Female Under 30 Kubra Dagli (Turkey) Individual Female Over 30

Wenqi Li (Great Britain)

Pair Under 17

Kanokchanok Jareonying (Thailand) Pattarapong Sengmueang (Thailand)

Pair Under 30

Annaline Soeberg (Denmark) Benjamin Harder (Denmark)

Pair Over 30

Lisa Lents (Denmark) Kim Nedergaard (Denmark)

Team M Under 17

Thanaphat Bompenthomnumsuk (Thailand) Chawalit Khopana (Thailand) Pattarapong Sengmueang (Thailand)

Team M Over 17

Christian Kamphuis (Finland) Frans Salmi (Finland) Olli Siltanen (Finland)

Team F Under 17

A smashing time was had in the breaking finals

Kanokchanok Jareonying (Thailand) Sakuna Laosungnoen (Thailand) Pichamon Limpaiboon (Thailand)

Team F Over 17

Agnete Jensen (Denmark) Annaline Soeberg (Denmark) Trine Banzon (Denmark)

The finals of the event - freestyle poomsae and technical breaking - were live-streamed on Olympic Channel.

Gold medalists for Freestyle Poomsae are as follows. Individual Male Under 17

Thanaphat Bompenthomnumsuk (Thailand)

Individual Male Over 17

Christian kamphuis (Finland)

Individual Female Under 17 Anastasiia Sumenkova (Finland) Individual Female Over 17

Soraya Wahjudi (Netherlands)

Pair Over 17

Elena Varela De Fatima (Spain) Alejandro Losada rodriguez (Spain)

Team Mixed

Kanokchanok Jareonying (Thailand) Sakuna Laosungnoen (Thailand) Thanaphat Bompenthomnumsuk (Thailand) Pichamon Limpaiboon (Thailand)

152

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Chawalit Khopana (Thailand)

Competitions

153


FUJAIRAH

2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO

TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Fujairah, UAE Nov. 24-25, 2018

China, Iran and Russia Emerge Victorious in Fujairah 2018 World Taekwondo Team Championships Team Championships are taekwondo’s most spectator-friendly format, featuring all-out attack, lightning-fast player substitutions and intense action

D

efending champions China comfortably retained the women’s team title while defending champions Iran won the men’s team gold by a razor-thin margin in the final seconds, and last-year’s runner-up, Russia, seized the mixed gender title at Fujairah’s Zayed Sports Complex, the venue for the 2018 World Taekwondo Team Championships. Team play is faster and more furious than the individual game, making it taekwondo’s most crowd-friendly format. Men’s and women’s teams feature five players; bouts last four rounds. In the first, fighters face their opposite numbers; the subsequent rounds feature substitutions flagged by coaches. Mixed-gender bouts last three rounds, with teams of three males and two females. As a general rule, team competitions ignite crowds who are left cold by the more tactical and more slower-paced individual game. Given the excitement generated, team play is a format that WT is promoting heavily.

154

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

155


FUJAIRAH

2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO

TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Male Team This final was a replay of 2017, pitting defending champions Iran against runners-up Russia. Earlier, Russian had knocked out Azerbaijan and Iran had taken out Kazakhstan, while China, Cote d’Ivoire, Korea and Uzbekistan had all been eliminated on the prior day’s preliminaries. It was a spirited, anyone-can-win battle. Round 1 was hard fought, ending 10-5 to defending champions Iran – but this was not going to be a wipeout. With 35 seconds left on the clock in the second round, the score had equalized to 12-12 – drawing chants from the Russian crowd. In the third, the action got rougher, with fighters tumbling off the mats and Russia drawing ahead 16-13. Iran made full play of its feistiest fighter, Abolfazl Yaghoubi, whose yelling attack pulled Iran’s points up to 15-16. Then Iran drew ahead with a head kick 18-16; Russia briefly bought it up to 18-18, before Iran again drew ahead 20-18. Then Russia equalized yet again 20-20, then led the board at 22-20 – but only briefly. With a fall it was 22-22, then 23-22 to Iran. The round ended 23-22 to Iran: it was anybody’s guess how this war would end. In the final round, Russia pulled ahead 24-23 with a thwacking body kick. There was scrappy play in the push – yet again, Iran played Yaghoubi, who delivered the necessary, taking the board 26-24, to Iran. Russia went into all-out attack mode, but the Iranians were scoring the points: 27-24, then 29-24. The game looked like it was drawing away from Team Russia – but in the last minute they raised their score to 28. With 45 seconds remaining, just one point separated the teams and in the last 20 seconds, Russian went up, 30-29. By now, the crowd was screaming. With just 3 seconds left, Iran’s Madhi “The Terminator” Khodabakhshi – a specialist in crisis taekwondo – scored, ending the war 31-32 to Iran. It had been nail-biting finish to a match that could have gone either way. Russia took a very well deserved silver while Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan won bronzes.

156

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Competitions

157


FUJAIRAH

2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO

TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Female Team Defending champions China – who have won this title for three consecutive years – had a by in the semis, after Russia withdrew. That left them fresh to face Cote d’Ivoire, who had earlier defeated France, in the gold medal match. Korea and Morocco had both been eliminated in the preliminaries on Saturday. The taller, leggier Chinese took an early lead, and never relinquished it, despite a brave effort from the attacking Africans, who carried the fight forward in all rounds, with World Champ Ruth Gbagbi, playing a central role in the game plan. The second round was 32-10 to China. In the third, Cote d’Ivoire charged forward, fighting ferociously, but the Chinese were landing head shot after head shot. At the onset of the fourth and final round, it was 57-22 to China. The rout continued in the last round with China now starting to play a more forward fighting game. In the last nine seconds, the coach played Gbagbi yet again: Summoning her last breath she whirled across the mats with a series of jumping spin kicks, but the point gap was far too great to overcome: The match ended 77-41 to China. Silver medalists Cote d’Ivoire – who had to fight a fresh opponent – won the hearts of the crowd. But massive credit to Team China, who have mastered every nuance of this format, and who currently look unstoppable. Russia and France took bronzes.

158

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Mixed Gender Team This year’s field comprised China, Cote d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Korea, Morocco, Russia and Turkey. In the preliminaries, Russia had a bye; Kakakhstan dismissed Morocco; Cote d’Ivoire had a by as Korea dropped out; and Turkey defeated defending champions China. In the quarter finals, Russia knocked out Kazakhstan, then Cote d’Ivoire took on Turkey. This semi-final clash was a scorching, spectacular battle: Turkey had accuracy while Cote d’Ivoire unleashed a creative, attacking style of play. Turkey won 72-58 – stratospheric scores –

but once again, Cote d’Ivoire energized the crowd with indomitable spirit and spectacular technique. That left Turkey to face Russia for the 2018 title. Turkey shrugged of their tiredness and led Round 1 9-7, but as the substitution phase got underway, Russia revved up, taking an 11-9 lead to loud applause. The board went to 12-12, before Turkey drew ahead 14-12, then the fight seesawed and Russia went 1614 up. The Russians fought with a relentless forward attack; the Turks uncorked combination, head and spin kicks. The second ended

24-14 to Russia. In the third, action flowed with fire and fury. The score rose to 25-21 to Russia, then 27-21, then 28-21. Russian support was now thunderous. Flags and feet were flying as the scoreboard flashed 32-21 to Russia with 30 seconds left. Despite a final rally from the Turks, Russia was not to be denied: It ended 35-22 and gold medal for Russia, silver for Turkey. Bronzes were won by Cote d’Ivoire and Kazakhstan.

Competitions

159


Wuxi 2018 WORLD TAEKWONDO

WORLD CUP TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS There was non-stop action at the World Cup in Wuxi, the city that is fast emerging as China’s capital of taekwondo

DAY

1

Wuxi, China

China and Korea Secure Places in Men’s Final of World Cup Team Championships

July 27-29, 2018

The World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships opened in spectacular fashion with an opening ceremony which combined sport, music and local culture. It took place in the new state-of-the-art World Taekwondo Wuxi Center. World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue opened proceedings by expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome the world taekwondo family had received in Wuxi and his certainty that the championships would be a fantastic event. Speaking after the ceremony, Choue said: “We are very excited to bring the World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships to the beautiful city of Wuxi. Wuxi did a fantastic job in organising the first ever World Taekwon-

160

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

do Grand Slam Champions Series last December and I have no doubt that the World Cup Team Championships will also be a huge success.” “China has a great love for taekwondo which is growing by the day,” Choue added. “These championships will help grow the sport even more in the country and inspire more people to get involved in taekwondo.” Vice Mayor of Wuxi City Liu Xia and Chinese Taekwondo Association President Guan Jianmin also addressed the thousands of spectators in the audience during the ceremony. All participating teams entered before an athlete representative and referee representative took the taekwondo oath. Team taekwondo is growing rapidly in popularity all around the world due to its high-scoring, high-octane nature.

An exhilarating first day of action saw China’s first team (China 1) and Korea secure their places in the gold medal match of the men’s category of the Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships. It was an action-packed first day that featured nine worldclass teams from China, Cote d’Ivoire, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Morocco and Turkey. After four engrossing quarter finals, China 1 faced Iran in the first of the semi-finals. The match was very close and by the end of Round 3, Iran held a narrow 31-29 lead giving either side a chance of reaching the final. However, it was the Chinese team, spearheaded by the ever-impressive and extremely aggressive Shuai Zhao, who secured their spot in the final with a high-scoring 65-55 victory. The second semi-final was not as close, but no less entertaining. While Morocco competed admirably, Korea were ultimately too strong and won a 94-48 victory. The day’s action left the two finalist teams, China 1 and Korea, set to face off against each other in the final on 29 July with the hope of claiming the world title and USD40,000 in prize money.

Competitions

161


DAY

Mixed Gender, Women’s Teams Contested on Breathtaking Day 2 of World Cup A breath-taking second day at the Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships set up a China-Russia final in the mixed gender category, whilst China’s first and second teams, Morocco and Korea advanced to the semi-finals in the women’s category. Seven mixed gender teams from China, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Turkey, Croatia, Korea and Russia faced off, but at the end of the day, only China and Russia were left in the running for gold, as they beat opponents Morocco and Croatia in their respective semi-finals. Russia convincingly beat Croatia with a 73-33 victory, whilst China had to take their fight against Morocco to a golden round to secure their place in the final. The bronze medal fights saw Morocco face Korea, whilst Cote d’Ivoire faced Croatia.

162

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

2

In the women’s category, six teams from China, Turkey, Korea, Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire were placed in two groups of three. The two round-robin competitions saw China’s first team finish top in Group 1 to secure a semi-final against the runners up in Group 2, Morocco. The second semi-final was set to feature Group 2 winners Korea and China’s second team, who came second in Group 1. The group stages were packed with exhilarating match ups, particularly the Korea versus Morocco fight in Group 2, which was anyone’s match until the dying moments. Morocco eventually claimed victory by a single point when Nada Laaraj landed a punch to an opponent’s trunk in the last three seconds; the fight ended 51-50 in Morocco’s favour. The stand out performer from the groups was Korea’s Mi-na Myeong wielding a plethora of aggressive kicks.

DAY

China, Korea and Russia Claim Golds at World Cup Team Championships The final day of the thrilling Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships in Wuxi, saw China, Korea and Russia claim gold in the women’s, men’s and mixed gender categories, respectively. The home fans were treated to an all-Chinese final in the women’s team category as the two Chinese teams faced each other following victories over Korea and Morocco in the semis. It was China’s first team (China 1) who claimed a 24-18 victory in the final. Both teams knew each other’s tactics very well, which meant the scores stayed relatively low until the second round when the match began to open up as the sides attacked more aggressively. In the end it was China’s first team who claimed the USD 40,000 prize. Morocco and Korea won the bronze medals.

3

In the men’s category, Korea overcame China 1 to claim a 6856 victory in a very open and fast-paced match. It was China who started brighter as they took a narrow 18-14 lead into the second round, but the ever impressive Nam-goong Hwan turned the match on its head with a skilful head kick and Korea did not look back after that. China 2 and Iran won the bronze medals. Russia claimed the world tile in the mixed-gender category by overcoming China, 58-40. The Russian side was spearheaded by the aggressive Kadyrbech Daurov whose impressive kicks were too strong for the tiring Chinese side. Korea and Cote d’Ivoire took home the bronze medals. All three winning teams took home USD 40,000 in prize money along with the World Cup titles.

Competitions

163


Wuxi 2018

World Taekwondo

Grand Slam Champions Series Wuxi, China

Dec. 12-16, 2018

Big Names! Big Fights! Big Money!

In 2nd Year, Grand Slam Comes of Age in Wuxi The World Taekwondo Grand Slam came of age in Wuxi, China, as the event pulled off its second flawless year. Out of eight categories contested, two of last year’s chamions - Bianca Walkden of Great Britain and Maksim Khramtcov of Russia - successfully defended their titles. The tournament is designed with media exposure in mind so instead of a stadium, it takes places in a custom-designed studio that features a state-of-the art TV camera rig, with 90 cameras set up around the mats. The Grand Slam also offers the richest prize money in the sport, with gold medalists taking home a cool USD70,000. However, it is not just about money. Athletes competing in the series had the opportunity to qualify one place each for their respective National Olympic Committees at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Contest Method/Scoring System A new scoring format was used for the Grand Slam. Instead of winning by points, as in all other tourneys, winners were decided by the number of rounds won. In the medal contests, a Best of Five Rounds method was used for men, while a Best of Three Rounds method was used for women.


Number two seed Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand convincingly overcame Minah Ha of Korea 2-0. Xueqin Tan of China saw off Bora Kang of Korea to win bronze.

166 166

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

-49kg

-58kg The men’s -58kg category saw number-two seed Jun Jang of Korea see off Yushuai Liang of China, 3-0. The bronze medal was claimed by Amin Hadipour Seighalani of Iran after he defeated Tae-hun Kim of Korea 3-2 in an incredibly tight match.

167 Competitions

167


Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

-68kg Much to the delight of the home crowd, Rio 2016 gold medalist Shuai Zhao of China landed the title with a winning blow in the golden point round, overcoming a valiant Bradly Sinden of Great Britain in a terrific final. The bronze was won by pre-tournament favourite Dae-hoon Lee of Korea after he beat Javier Perez Polo of Spain.

-57kg 168 168

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

In the women’s -57kg, Lijun Zhou of China won gold in front of the ever-animated home crowd. Zhou narrowly defeated double Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones of Great Britain 2-1 in a superb final. Number two seed Ah-Reum Lee of Korea beat Marija Stetic of Croatia in the bronze medal match.

169 Competitions

169


Lauren Williams of Great Britain added to her Manchester Grand Prix title by convincingly defeating World Champion Nur Tatar Askari of Turkey in the final of the women’s -67kg. The bronze was won by Ruth Gbagbi of Cote d’Ivoire after she beat Yunfei Guo of China, 2-0.

170 170

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

-67kg

-80kg Number one seed Maksim Khramtcov of Russia secured Grand Slam gold for the second consecutive year in the men’s -80kg after he defeated Nam-goong Hwan of Korea 3-1 in the final. The bronze was claimed by Azerbaijan’s Milad Beigi Harchegani - one of the most beautiful technicians in taekwondo - who beat Linglong Chen of China.

171 Competitions

171


Number one seed and pre-tournament favourite, Bianca “Queen Bee” Walkden of Great Britain retained her Grand Slam title, winning the women’s +67kg. Walkden secured victory after defeating Madelynn Gorman-Shore of the US, 2-1. Aleksandra Kowalczuk of Poland won the bronze by beating Rebecca McGowan of Great Britain, 2-1.

172 172

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Wuxi 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

+67kg

+80kg The men’s +80kg saw a shock upset as number one seed and clear favorite Kyo-don “The Bear” In of Korea lost to veteran warrior Sajjad Mardani of Iran in a scintillating golden point round. Zhaoxiang Song of China won bronze by beating fellow countryman Hongyi Sun.

173 Competitions

173


Africa Senior Taekwondo Championships Agadir, Morocco

March 29-30, 2018

WORLD TAEKWONDO CONTINENTAL UNION CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEDAL STANDINGS RANK

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

TOTAL MEDAL TALLY G

S

B

1

Morocco

6

3

7

2

Egypt

3

4

5

3

Tunisia

2

3

2

4

Cote d’Ivoire

2

2

3

5

Senegal

1

1

2

6

Ethiopia

1

0

0

Gabon

1

0

0

8

Niger

0

2

2

9

Mali

0

1

1

10

Cape Verde

0

0

3

11

Democratic Republic of the Congo

0

0

2

Nigeria

0

0

2

Cameroon

0

0

1

Chad

0

0

1

Libya

0

0

1

13

174

COUNTRY

Competitions

175


176

Asian Senior Taekwondo Championships

European Senior Taekwondo Championships

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Kazan, Russia

May 26-28, 2018

May 10-13, 2018

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

MEDAL STANDINGS

MEDAL STANDINGS

RANK

RANK

COUNTRY

TOTAL MEDAL TALLY G

S

B

COUNTRY

TOTAL MEDAL TALLY G

S

B

1

South Korea

7

2

8

1

Russia

4

3

3

2

China

4

2

2

2

Croatia

3

0

4

3

Uzbekistan

2

1

5

3

Great Britian

3

0

3

4

Iran

1

4

6

4

Turkey

2

4

1

5

Kazakhstan

1

1

2

5

Spain

1

3

0

6

Vietnam

1

1

1

6

Moldova

0

2

1

7

Thailand

0

3

1

7

Latvia

0

1

0

8

Jordan

0

2

0

8

Germany

0

0

3

9

Indonesia

0

0

2

9

Italy

0

0

2

9

Chinese Taipei

0

0

2

Poland

0

0

2

11

Japan

0

0

1

Azerbaijan

0

0

2

Tajikistan

0

0

1

France

0

0

1

Mongolia

0

0

1

Norway

0

0

1

Serbia

0

0

1

Slovakia

0

0

1

Ukraine

0

0

1

12

Competitions

177


Oceania Senior Taekwondo Championships

Pan Am Senior Taekwondo Championships

Mahina City, French Polynesia

Spokane, USA

Aug. 5, 2018

July 11-13, 2018 MEDAL STANDINGS

MEDAL STANDINGS

RANK

RANK

COUNTRY

TOTAL MEDAL TALLY G

S

B

G

S

B

Australia

8

7

6

1

Mexico

5

3

5

2

French Polynesia

0

1

8

2

Brazil

3

5

6

3

New Zealand

0

0

2

3

USA

3

4

6

4

Canada

2

0

7

5

Dominican Republic 1

2

0

6

Haiti

1

0

0

Panama

1

0

0

Chile

0

1

1

Colombia

0

1

1

Argentina

0

0

3

Peru

0

0

3

10

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

TOTAL MEDAL TALLY

1

8

178

COUNTRY

Competitions

179


Part.2

AROUND WT


T 5th Annual

GALA AWARDS 182

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

urkey’s Irem Yaman was named Female Player of the Year and Korea’s Dae-hoon Lee was named Male Player of the Year as World Taekwondo honored its top players and personalities at the 5th Annual Gala Awards Show, which took place in ritzy surroundings at the Fujairah National Theater on Nov. 23. “Tonight is not about competition, it is about recognition…it is also about friendship across all boundaries of color, religion and culture,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. “Regardless of who wins the awards, everyone here is part of the global taekwondo elite, and that makes everyone here very special.” He also gave his thanks to the host, Fujairah Crown

Around WT

183


Prince Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, who said: “Let me take you back a couple of years when we first started with a small group of excited students who took an interest in trying a new sport ...taking baby steps with them, seeing them sweat, train, win and lose....We have started a program to prepare and train an Olympic champion who will represent UAE in the near future.” The royal thanked Choue and WT for assisting Fujairah in this. Between the awards, artists from the Fujairah Fine Arts Academy entertained the audience with music – Arabic and Classical – and dance. Then the awarding began. The MNA (Member National Association) of the Year Award, presented to the MNA which has done the most to promote taekwondo in its country and region, was awarded to two MNAs: UAE, host of the Grand PrixFinals, and Italy, which this year started hosting a new Grand Prix, in Rome, and which also oversaw a taekwondo demonstration at the Vatican. IOC Member Ivan Dibos presented the Coach of the Year Award to Turkey’s Ali Sahin, who has overseen the growth of Turkish taekwondo, notably its worldbeating women’s team.

184 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

184

Around WT

185 185


The Kick of the Year Award was won once again by perennial crowd favorite Aaron Cook of Moldova, for a series of multiple, machine-gun round kicks. The award was accepted by WT Games Chair Mohamed Shaaban as Cook was unable to attend. The first-ever Taekwondo Cares Award was presented by WT Vice President Ahmed Fouly to Hazem Ahmad Awwad Naimat of Jordan for his contributions to the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation’s Azraq Taekwondo Academy.

WT Vice President John Kotsifas presented the Grand Prix Final Best Volunteer Award to Mohamed Khaled. The Female Referee of the Award was presented by WT Secretary General Hoss Rafaty to Ksenia Choucha of Belarus – who received a standing ovation from her fellow referees. “In my time, I was also an athlete and remember how important it was to make games fair and transparent,” she said. “To make them exciting and fair, it depends on a team….[and our team] works together shoulder to shoulder.” The Male Referee of the Year Award was presented by WT Vice President

186 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

186

Around WT

187 187


Ji-ho Choi who – after lamenting that there was no Best Referee Award when he was refereeing himself – said: “Referees are an integral part of our organization and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you.” The winner was Mohamed Adel Abdelfattah of Egypt. “This is a very important moment to me, I cannot deliver what I feel to you,” he said. Addressing his fellow referees, he added, “I have nothing if I don’t have you!” The Female Player of the Year Award was presented by Choue to Turkey’s Irem “The Gold Hunter” Yaman. “I am so excited…this year was a really good year for me, thank you everybody and thank you to my team,” she said. The Best Player award will join Yaman’s increasingly packed trophy cabinet which includes gold medals from the Grand Prix, the Grand Slam, the European Championships and the World Championships.

The Male Player of the Year Award was presented by UAE Taekwondo President Ahmed Al Zeyoudi to Dae-hoon Lee of Korea. The phenomenal Lee, a human kicking machine, is not only the most dominant player in the sport, he has such a nice-guy persona that he has won the Male Player of the Year Award four times. It was a doubly good day for Lee, who had earlier won the Grand Prix Final title with a staggering 65 points.

188 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

188

“Thank you World Taekwondo, thank you for everyone, thank you to Team Korea. I am so happy to be here – it’s beautiful!” he said as he accepted the award. The Gala Awards ended with the WT banner being passed from representatives of the UAE Taekwondo Federation to the Russian Taekwondo Union, which will host next year’s Grand Prix Final.

Around WT

189 189


190 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

190

Around WT

191 191


2018’S AWARDEES

Male Player of the Year Award

Female Player of the Year Award

Coach of the Year Award

DA E-HOON L E E, Korea

IR E M YA M A N, Turkey

A LI SA HIN, Turkey

Kick of the Year Award A A RON COOK, Moldova

192 TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

192

Taekwondo Cares Award H A Z E M A HM A D AW WA D NA IM AT, Jordan

Best Volunteer Award

Female Referee of the Year Award

MOH A M ED K H A L ED

K SEN I A CHOUCH A, Belarus

Best MNA Award UA E / ITA LY

Male Referee of the Year Award MOH A M ED A DEL A BDELFAT TA H, Egypt

Around WT

193 193


General Assembly Approves Competition Rule Changes New rules approved for debut at Roma 2018 WT Grand Prix

T

he World Taekwondo General Assembly unanimously approved a series of changes to its Competition Rules as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure taekwondo is as exciting and engaging as possible for its global fan base. The General Assembly on April 5 in Hammamet, Tunisia, convened ahead of the World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the Hammamet 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships. The approved rule changes, devised to increase the intensity of competition and ensure athlete safety, include:

194

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

A valid spin kick to the trunk protector is four points and a valid spin kick to the head is five points. A gamjeom can be issued if an athlete has one leg outside of the boundary line and referees will only wait for five seconds before issuing a gamjeom to athletes who are not engaging in the fight. A weigh-in for randomly selected athletes will take place two hours before the competition. Athletes must be within 5 percent of their body weight category to be approved. This new weigh-in will take place in addition to the universal weigh-in the day before the competition and will protect athletes from dangerous

or extreme measures used to make weight. The golden point round is renamed the golden round. Athletes are now required to get two points in the round to win, as opposed to one point under the previous rules. In the event there is no winner of the golden round, the winner will be declared in the order of: who succeeded with a body punch; who got the most registered hits; who won the most rounds in the previous three rounds; and who got the fewest gamjeoms in the match. The rule changes were set to be implemented at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1 in Rome on June 1, 2018. Following the General Assembly, World Tae-

Around WT

195


kwondo President Chungwon Choue said: “Today’s General Assembly was very successful. It is always a pleasure to meet with our Member National Associations (MNAs) from around the world and look back at the great work we have achieved and look forward to the ways we can improve our sport.” He also focused on the main message of 2018. “This year will be focused on development and youth,” he said. “We will focus on helping our MNAs to grow taekwondo at the grassroots level and enhance their elite-level athletes. Appealing to youth is a priority, as if we do not attract the young generation to practice taekwondo, there will be no future for taekwondo. The rule changes we have approved today are an important step in the constant evolution of taekwondo to make sure it is as appealing as possible. “I would like to thank our hosts, the Tunisian Taekwondo Federation, the city of Hammamet and the government of Tunisia for their organization and support. I have no doubt that the Qualification Tournament and World Junior Championships will be fantastic events and showcase Tunisia and Africa’s excellent hosting credentials.” In addition to changes to the competition rules, changes to the terms “Full

196

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Member” and “Demoted Member” were approved - to “Level I” and “Level II” members, respectively. Level I members have voting rights at the General Assembly and the right to participate in all official WT events. Level I MNAs will be demoted to Level II if they do not fulfil their financial or championship-participation requirements. Level II members shall not have voting rights in official meetings, such as at the General Assembly, but they still retain the right to participate in all official WT events. During the General Assembly, there was a moment of remembrance for World Taekwondo’s Founding President Un Yong Kim, who passed away on Oct. 3, 2017, at the age of 86. President Choue also awarded a plaque of appreciation to Master Houssine Ounifi who was the first Tunisian taekwondo master and the first Tunisian national assistant coach as well as the first technical advisor. He was a student of Korean master Eun-ho Hong who brought taekwondo to Tunisia in the 1970s and made a major contribution to the development of taekwondo in the country. Sadly, Master Ounifi had passed away on March 2016, so the plaque was presented to his mother, Mabrouka Ounifi.

Around WT

197


WT Council Approves ‘Hammamet Declaration,’ Prioritizes Safe Sport

T

he World Taekwondo Council approved on April 14 the “Hammamet Declaration,” which included a commitment to ensuring safe sport by taking all relevant measures for the prevention of injury and protection of athletes from all types of abuse. The declaration stated that World Taekwondo will act, “In full compliance with the IOC Toolkit for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport, and will continue to enhance its policies and regulations for the safety and health of athletes.” In addition, the declaration stated that World Taekwondo would “Ensure taekwondo serves as a tool to give hope to every corner of the world.” World Taekwondo will continue to expand its World Taekwondo Cares program in order to fulfill its

198

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

mission of sport development. The declaration was approved during the council meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia ahead of the World Taekwondo General Assembly. Speaking following the meeting, World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue said: “The safety of our athletes is our number one priority and the approval of the Hammamet Declaration reflects our commitment to do as much as possible to ensure safe sport. We recognize that a declaration is not enough; we must now turn words into actions. A review of our existing policies is already underway and we will be implementing new measures over the coming months, in line with the guidance provided by the IOC.” The council also approved Sofia, Bulgaria as the host city of the 2020 World Taekwondo

Junior Championships and Istanbul, Turkey as the host city of the 2019 World Para Taekwondo Championships. The selection of Bulgaria for 2020 World Juniors follows the country being awarded the 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 3. The number of World Taekwondo Grand Prix events that can be held each year was also amended by the council so that up to four editions of the series can henceforth be held each year, up from three. The council also amended Standing Procedures for the Grand Slam Champions Series, which was launched at the end of last year. To conclude the meeting, council members took a group photo holding up white cards to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Around WT

199


Wuxi, China, Chosen to Host 2021 World and Para Taekwondo Championships

W

uxi, China was chosen as the host of 2021 World Taekwondo Championships and the World Para Taekwondo Championships at the World Taekwondo Extraordinary Council Meeting, held at the Novotel Fujairah on Nov. 21. The meeting started with a moment of silence for late WT Vice President and IOC Member Nat Indrapana, who had passed away. WT President Chungwon Choue then thanked the host city, Fujairah, and mentioned that 2018 was the 45th anniversary of WT. A short video of the last 45 years was then shown. WT officials and the WT Demonstration Team were invited to Pyongyang, North Korea, in Oct-Nov and discussions took place at the time on future WT-International Taekwon-Do Federation integration. In 2019, the 25th anniversary of taekwondo becoming an official Olympic sport, there are plans for WT and the

200

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

ITF to carry out joint demonstrations in Europe, Choue said. He declared that in light of certain incidents around the world, and in line with recent IOC communications, WT will henceforth tolerate no discrimination against any MNA by another MNA or host country that impacts athlete participation on the basis of politics, religion or other reasons. “I urge the council to collectively take the strongest stance against these unfortunate incidents and not award a sport event to a country that does not permit any athletes to enter the country due to political reasons,” he said. A related motion was passed. Giovanni di Cola, head of the WT Sustainability Committee, noted how frameworks have been adopted, aligned with IOC goals, and that WT’s peace work, social integration, and gender practices are benchmarks. There was a briefing on WT strategic objectives. These include raising brand value and

visibility, extending outreach via e-sports and upgrading sport presentation. On WT’s Safe Sport initiative, Athletes Committee Co-chair Nadin Dawani briefed on how the IOC toolkits to safeguard athletes can be accessed. THF Executive Director Roger Piarulli reported that an agreement had been signed with United World Wrestling, and talks are ongoing with the badminton, table tennis and handball federations, to include those sports at the THF facility in the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. This will mean the facility will become a taekwondo-led multi-sports facility. A new THF project has also been launched in Niger, with the Niger NOC, for six months. Piarulli urged taekwondo groups globally to carry out fund-raising initiatives for the THF, and gave recent examples from Malaysia and Korea. The meeting’s biggest announcement was the awarding of the 2021 World Taekwondo

Championships and 2021 World Para Taekwondo Championships to Wuxi in China. Wuxi was represented at the meeting by Vice Mayor Liu Xia who said, “I am happy and excited. We will do our best for preparing those big events.” Wuxi is already investing heavily in the sport as the host and sponsor of the World Taekwondo Grand Slam, inaugurated in 2017.

Around WT

201


Around WT

203

Around WT

203

ITA, WT Sign Anti-Doping Partnership in Argentina On the sidelines of the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics, the International Testing Agency (ITA) and World Taekwondo signed a partnership that will see the ITA implement the federation’s global anti-doping programme from 1 Jan. 2019 through to the end of 2020. The ITA will deliver a robust programme in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including risk assessments, test distribution planning, in-competition and out-of-competition testing, registered testing pool and athlete whereabouts management, athlete biological passports and support on compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. The partnership is an endorsement of the

WT Presents at WADA Anti-Doping Symposium

202

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

World Taekwondo is continuing to make progress in enhancing its anti-doping programs as part of its commitment to clean sport and ensuring a level playing field. World Taekwondo has been working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and attended the World Anti-Doping 14th Annual Symposium, held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 21-23. A record 900 delegates attended the symposium on “Shaping the Future of Clean Sport.” Themes included: compliance, funding and capturing the athlete’s voice. Workshops and seminars were geared

ITA’s world-leading expertise in providing anti-doping services. World Taekwondo joins more than 30 International Federations and major event organisers that have already partnered with the ITA. World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue said: “Protecting our athletes is a key priority for World Taekwondo. We are always looking at ways of improving our anti-doping programmes to ensure we are delivering competitions that our athletes, fans and all stakeholders can have complete trust in. We look forward to working with the ITA who will provide excellent independent expertise in

anti-doping and help us to guarantee clean sport and a level playing field for all our athletes.” ITA Chair Dr Valérie Fourneyron added: “We are delighted that World Taekwondo has partnered with the ITA to manage its anti-doping programme. Being entrusted to protect athletes is a great responsibility and one that we take very seriously. Our independent experts will work hard to deliver a widerange of anti-doping services and ensure clean taekwondo around the world. Our mission is ‘Keeping Sport Real’ and we are honoured to enter into this partnership aimed at ‘‘Keeping Taekwondo Real.’”

towards bringing sport, “From a Turbulent Time to a Fit Future.” A WT Anti-Doping Team delegate gave a presentation on “Building Capacity for new Anti-Doping Organizations Staff.” The presentation focused on this growth and the importance of educating new staff to uphold the highest possible standards. The WT Ant-Doping Team has grown significantly in a short period. WT has completed all of WADA’s Code Compliance Questionnaires (CCQ), designed by WADA to raise the standards of anti-doping organizations and ultimately keep sport clean.


Anti-Doping in focus at Hammamet

World Taekwondo implemented a series of anti-doping education activities at its two junior championships held in Hammamet, Tunisia in August, as it continues to focus on educating athletes from a young age on the dangers of doping. The Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament and the World Taekwondo Junior Championships took place in Hammamet in April, bringing together almost 1,000 athletes from 118 countries. Working with the Organising Committee and National Anti-Doping Agency of Tunisia (ANAD), World Taekwondo maximised the opportunity to implement awareness programmes for the athletes and support personnel. During the Head of Team Meeting and Team Doctors’ Meeting for the Qualification Tournament, a 15-minute education session was held which informed coaches, doctors and other support personnel about the role they can play in ensuring clean taekwondo. Anti-doping education booths were also set up for the Qualification Tournament and Junior Championships and placed inside the competition venue to offer athletes maximum accessibility. The booths received more than 400 visitors, including athletes and support personnel. During the World Taekwondo General Assembly, WT Athlete Integrity Ambassador Pascal Gentil presented to the Member National Associations on the importance of anti-doping and the role they can perform in ensuring clean sport in their countries. Gentil also visited the education booths to meet participants and talk about the fight against doping.

204

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Gentil Represents WT at

WADA’s 1st Global Athlete Forum Pascal Gentil, co-chair of the World Taekwondo Athletes Committee, attended the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 1st Global Athlete Forum on 3-5 June 2018. The forum was hosted by the Canadian Olympic Committee with the support of the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport and was attended by 104 athletes from 54 countries. WADA President Sir Craig Reedie, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli and IOC Member Richard Pound were also in attendance. Gentil participated in discussions on the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights, the Speak-up! Whistleblower Program and the AntiDoping Administration and Management System, or ADAMS.

dard for Code Compliance by Signatories and the work of the Independent Compliance Review Committee. 6 / The Forum calls on leaders of sport and government to facilitate an environment that allows athletes to express their opinions without fear of retribution. 7 / The Forum calls for more financial investment for global and national anti-doping programs.

There were 13 key outcomes: 1 / The Forum supports the draft Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights and stressed the importance of the Charter to ensure that the rights of all athletes are accepted and that the key principles are integrated into the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code. 2 / The Forum identified corruption, conflict of interest and lack of independence as their top three concerns related to the anti-doping system. The WADA Athlete Committee commits to addressing these concerns and to working to improve the situation; as well as, supports WADA’s increasing efforts in addressing these concerns.

3 / The Forum supports WADA’s decision to ensure that the outstanding items in the RUSADA Roadmap to Compliance are fulfilled before World Anti-Doping Code compliance is declared. 4 / The Forum recognized the brave actions by Russian whistleblowers Yulia and Vitaly Stepanov, in reporting doping in Russian athletics. The Forum thanked them for their courage and continued commitment to clean sport. 5 / The Forum supports WADA’s Speak Up! whistleblower program and the advancements made to ADAMS; as well as, commended the Agency on the new International Stan-

8 / The Forum expressed concerns about sporting organizations hosting events in WADA non-Code compliant countries. 9 / The Forum calls for anti-doping organizations to routinely review their programs. 10 / The Forum calls on all athletes and athlete representatives to publicly express their views both individually and collectively. 11 / The Forum reinforced the need for meaningful Athlete involvement in the rules governing anti-doping organizations. 12 / The Forum stressed the importance of mandatory anti-doping education. 13 / The Forum overwhelmingly endorsed full membership of the WADA Athlete Committee Chair on the Executive Committee.

Around WT

205


Saudi Arabia to Promote Islamic Women’s Taekwondo Championship in 2019

Indonesian President Visits Venue at 2018 Asian Games

Saudi Arabia is set to host the first ever Islamic Women’s Taekwondo International Open Championships in the kingdom in 2019. The event was confirmed when WT President Chungwon Choue met Prince Fahad Bin Jalawi Alsaud, the international relations director of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee on Nov. 28, 2018, in Tokyo, Japan during the ANOC General Assembly. Prince Fahad recognized that taekwondo is one of the fairest sports on earth, and that it is getting increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia Choue endorsed the event. “Taekwondo is all about empowerment,” he said. “The development of women’s taekwondo in Saudi Arabia will have a positive influence across the

206

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Middle East.” WT has been promoting the sport among Islamic women, notably by allowing the wearing of the hijab under the head guard. In return, taekwondo has delivered somehigh-profile victories to Islamic women. Most notably, taekwondo granted Iran its first ever female Olympic medal, in the form of the bronze captured by Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where Egypt’s Hedaya Malak also earned a bronze. The dates and location of the event are yet to be decided, but the prince suggested that the WT Demonstration Team could conduct a tour of Saudi Arabia before the tournament.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo joined World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue and Korean Prime Minister Nak-yeon Lee at the JCC Plenary Hall in Jakarta on Aug. 19 to watch the taekwondo poomsae competiton at the Asian Games. President Widodo’s surprise appearance was well received by local spectators who cheered and took photographs. The upbeat atmosphere may have been a contributing factor in Indonesian athlete Rosmaniar Defia winning gold in the women’s individual poomsae - much to the delight of the home crowd. It was the first taekwondo medal and the first gold medal for the home nation at the Games. President Widodo presented the medal to Defia at the awarding ceremony. During the president’s visit to the venue, he spoke with President Choue and Prime Minister Lee about the beauty of taekwondo. This year’s Asian Games is the first in which poomsae has been contested as a medal event.

Around WT

207


Development Funds Given to Cambodian Federation

WT President Makes Fujairah Crown Prince Honorary Black Belt

WT President Chungwon Choue delivered a ‘Taekwondo Development Fund’ check to Hang Chuon Naron, president of the Cambodian Taekwondo Federation, in a ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Nov. 10, 2018. Hang also serves as Cambodia’s minister of education, youth, and sport. The fund was presented by Choue, who also serves as president of NGO GCS International, and Nam-chul Cho, president of the International Center for Korean Culture (ICKC),

to Hang during the 2018 GCS International Convention, held at the Phnom Penh Hotel in downtown Phnom Penh. The WT president attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 Cambodia National Taekwondo Championships, which kicked off for a four-day run at the Booyoung Khmer Taekwondo Center. A children’s taekwondo demonstration took place at the center, built by Korean company Booyoung in 2012. A day earlier, on Nov. 9, Choue had met with

Cambodian NOC President Thong Khon, who also serves as minister of tourism, to exchange opinions on taekwondo in Cambodia. The development fund was raised mostly by donations from the ICKC and GCS International, by proceeds from the 2018 Jeju World Peace Walkathon, held in July on Jeju Island, Korea, and by the 2018 Charity WT Demonstration, held on Ilsan Beach in Ulsan, Korea, in August.

Honorary Black Belt Presented to IOC Member and Jordan NOC President

W

orld Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue presented Fujairah Crown Prince Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi with an 8th dan taekwondo black belt certificate on a ceremonial plaque at the Rumailah Palace in Fujairah on Nov. 21. The presentation took place at the Rumailah Palace, on the eve of WT’s end-of-season events, which took place in Fujairah: The 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, the 2018 World Taekwondo Team Championships as well as the 5th Annual Gala Awards. “Fujairah is doing a wonderful job,” Choue said at the ceremony. He personally thanked the royal for his efforts on behalf of the sport, which include not just this year’s trio of events, but also the G1-ranked Fujairah Open tournament. In addition to the black belt plaque, Choue presented the royal with a copy of WT’s just-published 45th anniversary book.

208

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

W

orld Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue presented IOC Member and President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, Prince Feisal Al Hussein, with a 7th dan black belt in Amman, Jordan on March 29. The honour was presented to Prince Feisal in recognition of the significant contribution he has made to the development of taekwondo in Jordan. Taekwondo in Jordan has developed enormously in recent years. At Rio 2016, the country won its first ever Olympic medal in any sport when taekwondo’a Ahmad Abughaush claimed gold in the men’s -68kg. Taekwondo has also played an important role in social development in the country. The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation has been operating a project in the Azraq Refugee Camp for Syrian refugees since 2016. Currently, about 200 boys and girls train at the academy twice a week where they learn taekwondo as well as Olympic values and lessons on how to be good global citizens.

Booyoung Scholarships Awarded At the opening ceremony of the Hammamet 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships on April 9 in Hammamet, Tunisia, Booyoung Scholarships were awarded to young athletes from six nations.

Around WT

209


W

On Holy Ground: Taekwondo Soars in Heart of Vatican 210

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

His Holiness Pope Francis and thousands more watch demonstration in St. Peter’s Square

orld Taekwondo performed a

demonstration, Pope Francis personal-

historic demonstration in Vat-

ly thanked the team.

ican City in the presence of His Holi-

Pope Francis has spoken many times

ness Pope Francis, reflecting the feder-

of the positive values sport brings to so-

ation’s ongoing commitment to sending

ciety.

a message of peace through taekwondo.

In May 2017, the Pope was award-

The demonstration, on May 30, took

ed an honorary 10th dan black belt

place in St. Peter’s Square in front of

by

thousands of people gathered from all

Chungwon Choue during a special vis-

over the world for Pope Francis’ Gen-

it to Vatican City, where the Pope ex-

eral Audience.

pressed his interest in the humanitarian

The team performed a powerful and

World

Taekwondo

President

activities of the THF.

highly symbolic demonstration that

“It is a huge honour for World Tae-

ended with team members unfurling a

kwondo to be invited to Vatican City

banner reading “Peace is more precious

to perform a demonstration at this holy

than triumph” in Italian. Following the

and historic location,” Choue said. “We

Around WT

211


are very grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for allowing us this opportunity to send out a message that peace is more precious than triumph.” WT has been widely recognized for its commiment to charitable initiatives and sports diplomacy. In 2016, the WT Demonstration Team performed in an indoor auditorium in Vatican City for the 1st Global Conference on Faith and Sport. Also in 2016, WT was named “Federation of the Year’” at the Peace and Sports Awards.

212

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Around WT

213


WT, ITF Agree to Push Foward with Taekwondo’s Global Integration World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue and International Taekwon-Do Federation President Yong Son Ri agreed on Nov. 2 to set up a joint body to narrow their differences in governing the sport. “This is a big day for everyone who loves taekwondo,” Choue said. “Despite our differences, both of us have the same goal, and today we took a meaningful first step toward that goal.” Details about the integration have

214

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

WT, ITF Meet in Wuxi on Grand Slam Sidelines not been specified. The committee will decide what kind of changes they should make and how to do so. In a notable agreement, WT and the ITF will also work together on athlete participation in each other’s events. “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to add taekwondo as one of its official sports in 1994. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the achievement. It will be great to commemorate this achievement together,”

Choue said. It has since been confirmed that the joint demonstration will take place in Lausanne on April 11. Ri said he was also glad to sign a “historic agreement” between the two organizations. “By signing the agreement, we opened doors for a bright future for one taekwondo,” he said. “We will make sure that we execute what we have agreed to make tangible changes.” WT and the ITF have also agreed to list taekwondo in UNESCO.

W

orld Taekwondo (WT) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) held a meeting at the World Taekwondo Wuxi Center in Wuxi, China, on Dec 15, 2018. The meeting was a follow-up to the historic agreement signed in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Nov. 2. The WT delegation was led by President Chungwon Choue, and Vice Presidents Ahmed Fouly and Kyuseok Lee. The ITF delegation was led by President Yong Son Ri and Senior Vice President Hwang Ho Yong. Both organizations discussed a stra-

tegic roadmap, including the creation of a committee tasked with jointly developing the implementation plans for the realization of “One Taekwondo.” WT and ITF officials also attended the WT Grand Slam Champions Series held on Dec. 12-16, and the inaugural World Taekwondo Wuxi Forum on Dec. 16. The World Taekwondo Wuxi Center was created in July 2018 with the aim of supporting WT’s education and development programs. Wuxi will host the WT World Taekwondo Championships and World Para Taekwondo Championships in 2021.

Around WT

215


‘Taekwonplomacy:’ Full-Power Peace Message Delivered in Pyongyang For the second time in 2018, the WT Demo Team enjoyed a thunderous reception in the North Korean capital

For the second time in 2018, World Taekwondo (WT) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) performed a spectacular joint demonstration in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, showcasing the power of taekwondo as a vehicle for sport diplomacy. They had previously performed together in Pyongyang in April. On Oct. 31, in front of more than 2,300 people packed into the Taekwondo Hall, demonstration teams from the two international taekwondo governing bodies to put on a show of jaw-dropping athleticism. The WT Demonstration Team opened the show with a fusion of poomsae and modern

216

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

dance before carrying out blindfold breaks, in which the strikers are guided on to targets by hand bells. Then came a series of brilliantly coordinated breaks involving punches and kicks, followed by choreographed fight routines. After 30 minutes of the WT’s performance, the ITF team marched on in traditional, allwhite dobok without any background music. Their performance was full of power moves, breaking bricks and tiles with kicks, and enduring strikes across their limbs and torsos. While the WT’s performance was more colorful, the ITF’s appeared to be more traditional . Joint poomsae wrapped up the evening and the crowd reacted enthusiastically with thun-

derous applause. At its conclusion, the WT and ITF athletes shook hands; some embraced each other. For many, it was a reunion at the same venue. “Among the four joint performances they have displayed so far, this one was the best,” WT President Chungwon Choue said. “Today has shown that there is far more that unites us than divides us. Taekwondo has the power to open up dialogue and contribute to more peaceful understanding between nations,” he added. Among the dignitaries who watched the event were ITF President Yong Son Ri and North Korea’s National Sports Guidance Com-

mittee Chairman Hwi Choe. After the event, Choue invited the WT delegation, ITF officials and athletes to a special dinner at Pyongyang’s famed cold noodle restaurant, Okryugwan. The demonstration followed an agreement signed between WT and the ITF that will see the two federations forming a joint committee with the aim of “One World, One Taekwondo”

Around WT

217


How has taekwondo become the second-most popular sport in Mexico after football? “In Mexico one of the popular sports next to soccer is taekwondo since it does not require much equipment or specific areas to practice. People can practice taekwondo anywhere and anytime. Since 2016, when I became president of Federacion Mexicana de Taekwondo, we have put our efforts into developing grassroots taekwondo in Mexico. We try to expand the base of taekwondo everywhere in Mexico, as we provide taekwondo education, hold taekwondo seminars, and provide doboks to people, especially those who are living in poor areas.”

Nat Indrapana, Former WT Vice President and IOC Member, Passes Away International sports figure made huge contribution to taekwondo’s globalization

Can you tell me about your plans for para taekwondo? “We have focused on para events, as we hosted National Para Taekwondo events last year and this year. The number of athletes who participate in para events is increasing. I think it is due to our efforts developing grassroots taekwondo in Mexico.”

Mexican Taekwondo Leader Focuses on Grassroots Development

T 218

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

he President of the Federacion Mexicana de Taekwondo, Francisco Raymundo Gonzalez Pinedo, Vice Presidents Cristian Romero and Martin Corona, together with National Team Head Yeong-seon Bang, visited WT headquarters on Sep. 12 in Seoul, where Pinedo granted an interview.

What’s your plan for improving taekwondo in Mexico next year? “We have a tight budget, as we have only gotten small budgets from government so far. Due to this, we only used budgets from dojang registration fees. However, there will be a change of government in December this year. So, we will keep communicating with the Mexican government to secure more budget. Then, we will try to send more athletes to international taekwondo events to get not only medals, but also develop our national team’s level. Also, hosting international taekwondo events will be a great platform to connect with people. Thus, we will do our best to host international taekwondo events in Mexico. Lastly, we will help people in poor areas and provide taekwondo education so that everybody will enjoy and practice taekwondo in Mexico in the near future. This also matches the Taekwondo Humanitarian Federation’s aim, which helps people in poor physical and mental health by providing taekwondo. I sincerely appreciate (WT President) Dr. Choue because when I visited the Seoul office in 2016, and had a discussion with Dr. Choue about our federation’s situation with its tight budget, he thankfully understood.”

Dr. Nat Indrapana, 80, a former WT vice president and IOC member, passed away on Aug. 6, in Thailand. The Thai national was a vice president of WT from 1999 to 2009. It was a particularly critical time: The organization was going through an intense period of internal reform as it sought to solidify its credentials as an international Olympic federation. Indrapana chaired the Reform Committee, which came up with a set of proposals that massively impacted taekwondo globally. “Taekwondo is Korea’s gift to the world,” Indrapana said at the time. “We are moving in the right direction of transforming [WT] into a more global, more professional sports federation, in line with the IOC’s ongoing reform efforts.” The Reform Committee took shape following the 2004 election of current WT President Chungwon Choue. Under his direction, its activities were not limited on any one corner

of the organization; the committee’s areas of purview included competition format, competition management, refereeing, PR, marketing, anti-doping, headquarters administration, ethics guidelines, finance, international relations and IT. Some of the changes the committee proposed in 2005, following four months of research under Indrapana and Choue – such as reducing the length of rounds for more action; reducing the matted area for the same reason; including a gold point round in the case of ties; and the stationing of four corner judges around the field of play – remain hallmarks of taekwondo 13 years later. Those changes helped to confirm taekwondo’s Olympic status. “The passing of Dr. Nat Indrapana is a huge loss to all of us in the world taekwondo family and the wider global sports movement; he was a friend of many of us, and his passion and commitment to the sport inspired us all,” said

Choue. “As vice president of [World Taekwondo] for 10 years, he played a key role in the development of taekwondo at a critical time for our sport. His extraordinary contribution to taekwondo and to sport will never be forgotten; he will live with us forever.” In addition to his work for taekwondo, Indraprana held a wide range of high-profile positions within international sports and the Olympic movement. These included deputy secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand and council member of the Asian Games Federation and of the Olympic Council of Asia. In a press release, IOC President Thomas Bach called Indrapana “a true gentleman of sport” adding, “we will all miss him greatly.” Bach ordered the Olympic flag at the IOC Headquarters to be flown at half-mast for three days to mark Indrapana’s passing. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” Choue added.

Around WT

219


WT Wuxi Center Opens Doors to World

World Taekwondo Regional Training Center Opens in Rome

W

orld Taekwondo opened its 10th Regional Training Center, the Olympic Training Center “Giulio Onesti,” in Rome on June 4. A memorandum of understanding was signed by WT and the Federazione Italiana Taekwondo (FITA) to ensure mutual cooperation in research, sports, business and educational activities. The center will provide athletes and coaches with expertly designed

educational platforms. WT President Chungwon Choue and FITA President Angelo Cito were present at the Giulio Onesti to officially open the facility, following the successful debut of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Rome from 1-3 June. Giulio Onesti covers an area of 25 hectres and contains both indoor and outdoor facilities, including three training courts, six classrooms, as well as accommodation for up to

200 people. Local schools and clubs will also be allowed to use some of the world-class facilities, to support grassroots development within Italy. The other cities to have a opened Regional Training Centers are: Beijing, China; Baku, Azerbaijan; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Tehran, Iran; Shenzhen, China; Friedrichshafen, Germany; Manchester, Great Britain; Croatia and Muju, Korea.

As the prominence of the sport rises across China, the World Taekwondo Wuxi Center - a brand-new, custom-built, flagship facility that will become a key hub of taekwondo training, development and marketing for China, and the East Asian region – has gone into operation. The non-profit center is located in the 600 million yuan (USD88.5 million) Xiu Shui Fang building in Wuxi, the city near Shanghai which has already pioneered the big-money Grand Slam Champions Series and which will host the 2021 World Taekwondo and World Taekwondo Para Championships. The building is part of a complex that covers an area of 36,794 square meters (approximately 55 acres). Facilities include hotels, offices, restaurants, leisure space, retail outlets and a 150-person conference facility.

220

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

The Wuxi Center, which will include a “taekwondo university,” will focus on the training, education, development and marketing of taekwondo in China and worldwide It will closely work with WT to develop comprehensive taekwondo training programs in China and worldwide for all levels of athletes, coaches, referees and administrators. It utilizes cutting-edge internet technologies and is developing various types of certification systems covering taekwondo skills, culture, physical exercise, nutrition, and other areas relevant to the sport. The center aims to create a better future for the tens of millions of taekwondo athletes across China, and to offer a wide range of service and participation experiences for global fans.

Around WT

221


‘Wuxi Hot, Taekwondo Hot:’ Forum Offers Pointers to Taekwondo’s Future

T

he 2018 World Taekwondo Wuxi Forum was held on Dec. 16 in Wuxi, China, as senior stakeholders from across the global taekwondo movement gathered to discuss the future of the sport. The forum was held under the theme of “Dream and Future, Building a Healthier Taekwondo Ecology” and focused closely on the role the recently launched World Taekwondo Wuxi Center will play in developing the sport worldwide. World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue, International Taekwon-Do Federation President Yong Son Ri, WT Vice President Ahmed Fouly, WT Council Member In-seon Kim, Senior ITF Vice President Ho Yong Hwang, Chinese Taekwondo Associatio President Guan Jianmin and Vice Mayor of Wuxi Liu Xia were among those in attendance. Following the official launch of the World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series in Wuxi last year, WT has engaged closely with the city’s government. On Nov. 21, 2018, in Fujairah, UAE, WT officially selected Wuxi as the host city for the 2021 World Taekwondo Championships and the World Para Taekwondo Championships. Vice Mayor Liu, who led the World Taekwondo Championships bidding team to Fujairah, UAE, and successfully brought the championships home, delivered a speech. In it, she vowed that the arrival of the two top-end events will inevitably make “Wuxi Hot” and “Taekwondo Hot” and will continue to create

222

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

great synergyies between taekwondo and Wuxi. She gave her thanks to the world taekwondo family for their affirmation and trust in Wuxi and stated that Wuxi must live up to expectations and deliver new, meaningful and far-reaching World Championships. WT President Choue said that WT will implement new projects to further enhance the standing of the federation in the Olympic movement next year, and expressed his high expectations for the 2021 World Championships. He also took the opportunity to talk up WT’s humanitarian initiatives. “We also have the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, which was founded in April 2016, to improve the wellbeing of refugees around the world,” Choue said. “Through the THF, we can all learn about the importance of world peace and peace-building initiatives” ITF President Ri said, “We wish the 2021 World Championships in Wuxi success and will work hard to develop taekwondo with World Taekwondo.” Also attending the forum were Senior Director of the Membership and Development Department of World Taekwondo Jeong-kang Seo, and Director of the Strategic Planning Department of World Taekwondo Jerry Ling. The two introduced the future development plans of the federation. High-profile attendees including the founder of Taishan Sports Industry Group Co., Ltd. Bian Zhiliang, Zhang Jianhui, Dean of the Physical Education Department of the University of Georgia Zhang Jianhui and Chairman of the Board of Wan Guo Sports Zhang Tao held discussions with the guests at the forum and offered advice in building a healthier taekwondo ecology.

Around WT

223


224

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

WTAF

WTA

WTE

WTO

WTPA

Ahmed Fouly

Kyu-seok Lee

Athanasios Pragalos

John Kotsifas

Ji-ho Choi

Dear taekwondo friends and family, My God, how quickly years pass! 2018 was rich with events and full of victories - but also some shortcomings which we could improve. Reviewing WTAF events, we started off with the 5th Egypt Open in Alexandria, Egypt, which was held on Feb. 24-25. Next, Morocco hosted four championships in Agadir consecutively: the African Para Taekwondo Open Championship on March 28; the African Poomsae Senior Championship on March 28; the 2018 African Senior Championship on March 29-30; and the 2nd WT President’s Cup – Africa Region on March 31- April 1. This was followed by the Qualification Tournament for the Buenos Aires 2018 YOG in Hammamet , Tunisia, on April 6-7. Tunisia also hosted the Hammamet 2018 WT Junior Championships on April 9-13. Finally, the 2018 All African Games were held in Algiers , Algeria, from July 17-27. On the education side, the 101st Kyorugi IRS and 115th Kyorugi IRRC were held on April 15-18 in Dakkar, Senegal, and the 36th Poomsae IRS and 34th Poomsae IRRC took place from April 11-14, also in Dakkar, Senegal. As we are placing a high priority on improving para taekwondo in Africa, a WT Para Kyorugi IR Seminar was held in Port Said, Egypt on Aug. 30 – Sep. 1. It was a great honor to join WT President Chungwon Choue at the Vatican where a WT demonstration team performed in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis. I also joined the WT delegation to Pyongyang, North Korea and attended the joint performance conducted by WT and ITF athletes. Alongside this, joint meetings between WT and ITF officials were carried out. It was an extreme honor for me to have attended these performances and official meetings. The message which was spread at these events was, “One World, One Taekwondo.”

Dear friends, May the new year bring you and your family health, prosperity, and happiness. We benefit from nature and learn the wisdom needed in our lives through the laws of nature. We can see that those who understand the sounds of nature well and live wisely improve themselves by understanding the movement of the world and take it with an open mind, all the time. With the development of science, the distances in the world we live in are getting closer and the world is changing faster. As the gap between cultures has been narrowed, the areas which differed from each other have met, united, and changed. It is like two galaxies are coming close to each other over a long period of time and then colliding and being born into a new galaxy. In this way, as we live in the age of radical change, we need to seek integration with other areas so as for our taekwondo to meet the demands of the times. In addition, we should try to ensure that our taekwondo actively leads the future generation through mental development as well as physical development. Happy new year!

Dear friends, The New Year is always a good moment to look back on what has been and look forward to what will be. Did we provide our athletes with the best possible circumstances and climate to flourish and to chase their dreams and ambitions? What can we do in 2019 to make things even better? In 2018, Taekwondo Europe hosted wonderful events. From the President’s Cup in Greece with more than 2,200 athletes to the European Master Championships in Spain with only 60, we offered events for all. For the first time ever, Poland hosted the European Championships Under 21 and did an amazing job! Our loyal partners Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece and Spain hosted amazing events which gave our athletes the possibility to fight on the highest European platforms. On the way to Tokyo 2020, 2019 is of the utmost importance: It will be a decisive year for athletes collecting ranking points. But for athletes with ambitions other than the Olympics, Taekwondo Europe will offer a wide array of events. For 2019, all events have been allocated. It is our priority to have 2020 and 2021 events allocated soon so members can finalize their planning and budgets. We are exploring possibilities with the WT GMS team to publish a quarterly European Ranking list and to introduce a European Taekwondo Gala Award. To make our coach seminars more accessible, we will start a pilot in which teachers within the federations are educated to teach at local coach seminars. At the governance level, Taekwondo Europe will continue to work closely together with World Taekwondo. Cooperation with other Continental Unions will be a priority in 2019, aiming at providing the best possible circumstances for our athletes. Finally, I thank our main sponsor Daedo International.: Their continuous support is essential! Also, I must thank all our other partners and supporters. I look forward to an ambitious and victorious 2019!

Dear friends, 2018 was yet another busy year for World Taekwondo Oceania. The OTU name was changed to World Taekwondo Oceania (WTO) consistent with changes to names of all CUs. Tahiti hosted the 2018 Presidents Cup as well as the 2018 Oceania Championships - the first time French Polynesia has hosted an Oceania event. The two events were held just one day apart, giving athletes the opportunity to gain G2 world ranking points from the President’s Cup and G4 ranking points from the Oceania championships, offering G6 world ranking points to our Oceania athletes. The WTO Board appointed Maher Magableh to its vacant position to fill its total compliment of positions. It also approved financial and other support for candidates to undertake the IR course in Bangkok, Thailand in Dec. 2018. Hopefully, this adds up to a great pool of accredited IR’s in the Oceania region. WTO continued to conduct education programs for Oceania coaches and referees with courses held in member countries. In October, WTO hosted an Olympic Solidarity Technical course for coaches in the Solomon Islands. The course was attended by 23 coaches and 45 athletes from the Solomons. We also staged the first para IR course in Oceania in Sydney, Australia. The event was well attended by international referees. WTO President John Kotsifas also travelled to Pyongyang, North Korea, as part of the WT delegation. 2018 saw the appointment of WTO Senior Vice President, Daniel Trenton as chairman of WT’s Juridical Committee. 2019 promises to be an even bigger and more successful year, with two G2 events being held in Australia (President’s Cup and Australia Open), as well as the 2019 Open Para Tournament. In July 2019, the Pacific Games will be held in Apia, Samoa. I extend thanks and gratitude to all member nations. I also wish to thank the WTO Board for their hard work throughout 2018, and also thank all our athletes, officials and volunteers.

Dear WT Pan America family and friends, Sincere wishes to all in the year of the Golden Pig! 2019 is going to be another exciting year. The following are scheduled: 1: World Taekwondo G Ranking Events: U.S. Open (Feb.), Dominican Republic Open (March), Puerto Rico Open (April), Mexico Open (April), Costa Rica Open (Aug.), Argentina Open (Sept.), Canada Open (Sept.), Chile Open {TBD), Pan Am Open (June), and WT President’s Cup (Oct.). 2: WT Pan America Events: Qualification Tournament for Lima 2019 Pan Am Games & Para Pan Am Games: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 7~8. Pan Am Cadet and Junior Poomsae and Kyorugi Championships, and Pan Am Para Taekwondo Championships, WT Pan America Bi-Annual General Assembly: (June / Place TBD). 3. WT Pan America Educational Seminars and Courses: WT/WT Pan America Coach Permit Courses: Prior to various WT Pan American and WT G Events WT Pan America Instructor Certification Course and WT Pan America Dan Test: Various MNAs. 4. Pan Am Sports/ODEPA Event: Lima 2019 Pan Am Games: Lima, Peru / July 26~29 Lima 2019 Para Pan Am Games: Lima, Peru / Aug. 30~31. 5: WT Pan Am Continent Qualification Tournament for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: San Jose, Costa Rica / March 11, 2020. The 2019 Lima Pan Am Games Technical Manual was updated and completed in Dec. and will be distributed by the OC via National Olympic Committees in early 2019. Total athlete quota for Lima is 140: 109 kyorugi and 31 poomsae. Athletes will be selected through the qualification tournament in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in March. WT Pan America will select 24 international referees and six video review jurists for Lima’s three days of competition in July. Please submit referee recommendations for the Pan Am Games and your MNA events for 2019 swiftly. Please remember that WT Pan America EXCO and Council will always be available to assist and support you in 2019.

Around WT

225


SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Part.3


Dedicated Taekwondo Facility Opens at Azraq Academy

228

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

A taekwondo-specific facility is the very latest evolution of the THF’s flagship refugee project On April 1, 2018 a new, bespoke Azraq Taekwondo Academy training facility was officially inaugurated by Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) Chairman and World Taekwondo (WT) President Chungwon Choue, just short of two years after the launch of the foundation’s first pilot project in the camp. President of the Jordan Taekwondo Federation, Prince Rashid Bin El Hassan, attended the event, along with representatives from other Jordanian organizations, including the vice president of the Jordan Olympic Committee and the Amman mayor’s office. Representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, relief agency CARE Jordan and other friends of the foundation who travelled specially from overseas to attend were also present. WT VIPs attending included Vice President Ji-ho Choi, Council Members Hazem Naimat and Anatoly Terekhov and Marketing Chair Milan Kwee. The Azraq Taekwondo Academy began operations on April 27, 2016, as one of the first projects set up in a refugee camp by the THF and WT. At the end of 2017, the THF and WT took the decision to construct a dedicated taekwondo training facility in Azraq. This purpose-built facility will make a difference to the quality of lives of hundreds of children. The camp is located 90 kilometers from the Jordanian-Syrian border and currently hosts more than 32,000 refugees, victims of the Syrian civil war, of whom a great proportion are children. The academy trains children from the camp in taekwondo, providing them with physical fitness, sport, self defense, self- confidence and self belief. At the end of 2017, the THF and World Taekwondo took the decision to construct the dedicated taekwondo training facility, which will add to the quality of the lives of hundreds of children.

Social Responsibility

229


Jordanian Federation, THF, Cooperate in Azraq Camp The newly constructed, dedicated facility will allow the academy to host more students and provide a better training experience with more classes and more diversified activities. Students will be able to practice in comfort and safety. The facility includes a classroom, which will allow the THF to implement its education programme that teaches Olympic values and the universal values of world citizenship. “It was with great pride and humility that I was able to open the new taekwondo facility at the Azraq Taekwondo Academy,” Choue said on the day. “The academy has been a great success and has already produced three black belts, but we knew there was even more that we could do to maximize opportunities for these young people,” he added. Choue thanked Chairman Lu Dezhi of China’s Huamin Charity

230

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Foundation and Fujairah Crown Prince Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi Fujaira for their generous donations to the THF, which enabled the Azraq facility and other THF projects, and also to Taishan Sports Industry Group Co, Ltd. Chairman Zhiliang Bian who provided the new artificial grass lawn outside the gym. The THF and World Taekwondo have recently signed agreements with the international federations representing badminton, table tennis and wrestling to include these sports alongside taekwondo. All, like taekwondo, are economical and easy to deploy. Noting that its activities in Azraq are the flagship THF projects worldwide, Choue stated that the new facility, “will provide a benchmark for future THF projects around the world.” This means Azraq will be used as a model for THF academies across the world – in Rwanda, in Djibouti and elsewhere.

On Feb. 28, 2018, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and the Jordanian Taekwondo Federation (JTF) signed a contract of mandate to cooperate in the management of the THF’s flagship project, the Azraq Taekwondo Academy in Jordan. A refugee camp was created in 2014 near the town of Azraq, Jordan, to accommodate incoming refugees from Syria’s ongoing civil war. The camp now hosts more than 32,000 residents, many of them children. The THF began to operate a taekwondo academy for the children and youth of the camp in April 2016. The cooperation contract between the THF and the JTF took effect in April, since when JTF has been supporting THF projects by becoming its local focal point of coordination.

With the construction of a new taekwondo facility, the academy is being expanded in terms of activities and training. The national federation’s help in coordinating this growth is expected to be instrumental. Through this agreement, the two organizations have made a strong commitment to collaborate in promoting taekwondo as a powerful tool for peace and social development as well as of social integration, a point of view strongly advocated by their mother organization, World Taekwondo, which has also supported the project since its launch in early 2016. Azraq Taekwondo Academy was jointly launched by World Taekwondo and the THF as a first pilot project that delivered valuable lessons before the development of other project locations in Rwanda, Turkey, Nepal and elsewhere.

Social Responsibility

231


Grass Getting Greener at Azraq Taekwondo Academy

Adding a splash of green to the rocks and sand of Azraq Refugee Camp, a lawn has appeared outside the camp’s taekwondo gym

232

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

The sand and rocks outside the Azraq Taekwondo Academy have been replaced by a splash of green - a lawn of artificial grass. The turf was gifted by THF supporter Shandong Taishan Sports Equipment Co., Ltd. The company also donated taekwondo mats for the newly built academy that was inaugurated at the beginning of April 2018. The mats have been in use ever since the new facility opened, welcoming an average of 200 participants on a weekly basis. The installation of the artificial grass was finalised within the perimeter of the academy’s land in Azraq Camp with the help of THF friend Richard Barnor. Thanks to the artificial grass, the THF will be able to expand its activities for refugee children and youth in Azraq, particularly now that additional sport organizations, including

badminton, are joining the THF’s efforts to assist refugees. The ultimate objective is to align with international sports federations that have a similar humanitarian vision, and eventually facilitate the growth of the academy as a multisports facility. Sports activities in refugee camps help participants regain mental and physical well-being, notably through enjoyment, self-improvement and respect for others. It is no secret that sports also help to create a sense of community and foster friendships. Moreover, sports allow children and youth to gain personal capacities, develop dedication and enjoy a sense of achievement from perseverance. Sports also help them to feel that they are living a more “normal” life, despite living in a refugee camp.

Social Responsibility

233


Taekwondo Malaysia Organizes Fund-raising Run for Refugees

234

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Innovative fund-raising and promotional activities for the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, or THF, took place on the margins of the 2018 Malaysia Open Taekwondo Championships in March, raising USD 15,000 for refugees. The events were co-organized by World Taekwondo, Taekwondo Malaysia and the Asian Taekwondo Union in Putrajaya, Western Malaysia from March 1 to 4, 2018. The main event occurred before the actual competition, when all Malaysian taekwondo associations came together under Taekwondo Malaysia’s leadership to take part in a nationwide “Humanitarian and Refugee Run.” The fund-raiser was held in and around major Malaysian cities for 2 weeks before the opening of the 2018 Ma-

laysia Open, and saw more than 25,000 taekwondo practitioners, parents and the general public run a distance of 3km for the noble cause. It was the first time that such an event had been organized by any taekwondo organization around the world. In total, the run managed to collect USD 15,000 for the benefit of the THF, which will help the foundation strengthen its ongoing and future projects in refugee camps worldwide. The run will serve as benchmark for future THF fundraising events to be held in conjunction with WT-sponsored competitions globally.

Social Responsibility

235


Ethiopia Chosen as Next Location for THF Refugee Assistance Initiative

THF Chairman and World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue met with President of the Ethiopia Taekwondo Federation Dawit Asfaw on the margins of the World Taekwondo Youth Olympic Games 2018 qualification tournament, which took place from April 6 to 7 in Hammamet, Tunisia. Together with THF Executive Director Roger Piarulli, Choue and Asfaw discussed the parameters of the foundation’s next humanitarian project, to be developed in Addis Ababa following the UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s advice to launch a mixed-population project in Ethiopia’s capital, host to thousands of displaced people. The Ethiopian Taekwondo Federation will play a crucial role

236

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

in the local coordination of this new endeavor. World Taekwondo, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation and the Ethiopian Taekwondo Federation therefore signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officialize their upcoming collaboration. Ethiopia is the second-largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, currently home to more than 800,000 refugees and displaced people, mainly from neighbouring countries. The vast majority of them come from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and most recently, Yemen. The THF is already active on the African continent, with two taekwondo academies operating in refugee camps in Rwanda. It is also set to start a project in Djibouti.

Monaco’s Prince Albert II Signs THF’s International Petition

Prince Albert II of Monaco demonstrated strong support for the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation’s activities by signing its worldwide petition campaign at the Prince Albert II Cup. The event was held on April 14 at the Stade Louis II, and saw 40 young cadet taekwondo practioners and officials from Spain, France, Italy and Vietnam take part. During the competition, the Monaco Taekwondo Federation organized a promotional event for the THF, informing officials and athletes present about the foundation’s activities while volunteers collected signatures for the THF’s worldwide petition campaign at a booth set up specially to promote the foundation. The support of Prince Albert II sends a strong message to the global community that the THF’s work is an initiative worth spreading. Prince Albert II is well-known for his work in the Sport for Peace and Development field, in particular through his role as High Patron of Peace and Sport, a neutral international organization founded in 2007. Based in Monaco, Peace and Sport runs different projects worldwide, using sport as an instrument for peace. In 2016, the THF and Peace and Sport signed a memorandum of understanding to join forces in using taekwondo as a tool to foster peace and social development.

Social Responsibility

237


Choue Invites IFs to Join Hands with THF on Humanitarian Front At ASOIF General Assembly, WT head suggests other Olympic sports be taught to refugees alongside taekwondo in THF initiative

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue called on International Federations (IFs) to join the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) in empowering refugees through sport. President Choue, who is also the THF chairman, was invited by ASOIF to speak at the ASOIF General Assembly in Bangkok on April 17 to provide attending IFs with an update on the foundation’s activities. Officially established in April 2016, the THF now has active projects in refugee camps in Jordan, Nepal, Turkey, Djibouti, Rwanda and France. It has also opened a purpose-built Taekwondo Academy in the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. The THF deploys coaches and taekwondo equipment to refugee camps to teach young people taekwondo and use the sport as a vehicle for encouraging healthier living, understanding and peace. Choue explained to the ASOIF General Assembly that the THF is looking to work with all stakeholders to ensure its projects are as meaningful as possible and would welcome the opportunity to partner with other IFs. Speaking following the ASOIF General Assembly, President Choue said: “We face a grave global crisis. There are over 22.5

238

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

million refugees worldwide; half of them are women and children. The solution to this crisis can only be found through collaboration , which is why we invite all IFs to collaborate with the THF and help us to empower the powerless.” He continued: “The THF is now operating in six countries around the world and over the last two years we have seen first-hand what a positive impact sport can have on young people’s lives. These young people are in desperate need of support and through taekwondo and sport we can provide them with so much joy and happiness and key skills for future life. We would like to offer a broader spectrum of Olympic sports and so we would be delighted to partner with other IFs and work together to provide refugee children with a greater variety of sports activities. Peace is more precious than triumph, and by working together we can help make sure that peace triumphs.” The power of taekwondo to promote peace and understanding was demonstrated at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in February when WT and the North Korean-led International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) performed a joint demonstration just prior to the opening ceremony.

Social Responsibility

239


THF, WT, United World Wrestling to Join Hands in Teaching Refugees The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF), World Taekwondo (WT) and United World Wrestling (UWW) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote humanitarianism, peace and development-supporting activities. THF Chairman and WT President Chungwon Choue and UWW President Nenad Lalović signed the agreement on Oct. 22 during the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The agreement allows for full cooperation and information exchange between the three organizations. They aim to commit to developing close cooperation in the areas below: Promoting sport as a powerful vehicle towards peace, social development and integration of vulnerable populations Uniting forces in offering sport for development and peace activities, in particular in THF’s existing Azraq Taekwondo Academy in Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan, and potentially other locations worldwide Exchanging and sharing of expertise, know-how, information and publications. “At World Taekwondo, our motto is: ‘Peace is more precious than Triumph’ and this landmark agreement reflects our commitment to that ideal and is another key step forward in contributing to a more peaceful future through sport,” Choue said. “We have always been clear that we are open to working with other international federations to ensure we

240

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

International Table Tennis Federation to Work with WT, THF to Assist Refugees World Taekwondo, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Nov. 28 to promote humanitarianism and peace and development activities. The agreement was signed by WT President Chungwon Choue and ITTF President Thomas Weikert in the presence of IOC President Thom-

as Bach on the sidelines of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Tokyo, Japan. The areas that the MOU covers with the ITTF are the same as those covered in the MOU with UWW (as laid out, in bold, on the facing page). “The landmark agreement is another example of World Taekwondo’s commitment to contributing to a more peaceful future,” Choue said.

“As we all know, sport is very powerful in reaching people and making a real difference in the lives of those that need it most, and this newly created network will enhance our understanding of the needs of many, whilst also bringing the three organizations closer together,” Choue continued. “Often, you have to realize that some things are more important than what happens on the mat.”

can help as many people in need as possible. We are greatly looking forward to working with UWW to learn from them and to share our experience and expertise. Through our collaboration, we will be able to make a real difference to the lives of those that need it most.” UWW President and IOC Executive Board Member, Nenad Lalović said: “We have followed the development of this humanitarian fund and have seen what it can achieve and look forward to joining World Taekwondo’s effort to diversify athletic opportunities in the camps.” He added, “We trust that wrestling and taekwondo will add light to the lives of the children in these refugee camps.” The terms of mutual assistance, financial responsibilities, and related activities of any project or activities implemented from the MOU will be mutually discussed and agreed upon in writing by all parties prior to their initiation.

Social Responsibility

241


Global Taekwondo Grass-roots Raises Money for THF

Badminton Joins Taekwondo in Humanitarian Mission

On Jan. 14, 2019, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF), World Taekwondo (WT) and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) signed a landmark memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote humanitarianism, peace and development-supporting activities. THF Chairman and WT President Chungwon Choue, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer and THF Executive Director Roger Piarulli met on the afternoon of Jan. 14 at the Maison du Sport International in Lausanne, Switzerland, to sign the collaborative agreement. Following the signing, Choue said: “At World Taekwondo, our motto is ‘Peace is more precious than triumph,’ and this landmark agreement further highlights our commitment to humanitarianism, peace and develop-

242

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

ment-supporting activities around the world. Taekwondo, and sport in general, is such an important vehicle for world peace and we are all very excited to work closely with the BWF to improve the lives of those who need it most.” Høyer said: “The BWF is excited to partner with the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation as well as World Taekwondo to promote and support humanitarian and social development initiatives around the world, in particular the sports for peace project in Jordan. Badminton is a sport for all and as such, we see great opportunity in uniting together with our friends at World Taekwondo to provide avenues of sport and physical activity for the children and youth at the Azraq Refugee Camp. We hope this partnership will extend to many

other peace and development initiatives globally in the coming years.” Since Choue addressed all international sports federations attending the ASOIF General Assembly in Bangkok in May 2018 with an open invitation to join hands with WT and the THF in their humanitarian activities, several institutional partnerships were concluded to develop close cooperation in promoting sports as a vehicle towards peace, social development and the integration of vulnerable populations. The THF and WT have been keen on uniting with others federations in their existing Azraq Taekwondo Academy in Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan, the concept being to bring in additional sports and fun activities for the camp’s population. With the recent installation of artificial turf outside the aademy, badminton has a football-sized field playground at its disposal to develop activities for the many children and youth visiting the site daily. Looking at pictures from the academy and the camp itself, Høyer confirmed that it made perfect sense to join hands with other federations sharing the same vision and willing to get involved in the field, as team efforts were a sure way to maximise the impact of such initiatives. Choue added that his long-term vision is to launch an Olymipic Peace Corps with other international federations and the IOC to teach a great variety of sports and bring hope to people in vulnerable situations around the world.

2018 was the year when taekwondo’s global humanitarian outreach became a team effort. Since the start of the year, several national fed-

erations and continental unions have stepped in to encourage, support and raise funds for the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation’s activities at tournaments. The 2018 Texas State Taekwondo Championships took place at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Houston, USA, on March 16-17, 2018. As a qualifying tournament for this year’s national championships, over 1,000 athletes took part, making it a great opportunity to spread the message about the THF. At the end of the competition, World Taekwondo Council Member In-seon Kim, along with executive members of the Texas State Taekwondo Association, generously donated a check of USD 10,000 for THF operations. Shortly afterwards, it was the turn of World

Taekwondo Africa to organize fundraising and promotion activities during the 2018 Africa Senior Championships which took place in Agadir, Morocco, at the end of April. After the competition, President of the Africa Taekwondo Continental Union and World Taekwondo Council Member Ahmed Fouly presented the THF with a donation of USD 5,000. In the summer of 2018, the THF launched a major campaign to encourage support and promotion of the foundation worldwide by all members of the global taekwondo family. MNAs and CUs were presented with a Humanitarian Charter and an activation plan of how to implement the charter within their networks - a plan that saw its first implementation in 2018.

THF, Rome and Italian Taekwondo Sign Agreement to Work Together On May 30, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Rome and the Italian Taekwondo Federation (FITA) confirming the three organizations’ desire to work together to empower refugees through taekwondo in the local community of Rome. The MOU was signed by THF Chairman Chungwon Choue, Rome Council of Sport’s Daniele Frongia and FITA President Angelo Cito during a special signing ceremony at Rome City Hall. The three parties confirmed their readiness to promote and develop close cooperation with each other, notably in:

The parties are also ready to attribute the special role of “THF Ambassador City” to the City of Rome. During the signing ceremony, all three parties expressed how honored they were to be collaborating together and expressed their commitment to support refugees and displaced persons. The THF was established under the leadership of Choue in 2016 with the aim of delivering taekwondo training and education to refugees and thus provide hope and valuable learnings for future life. The THF has since established a number of projects around the world including in Jordan, Nepal, Turkey and Rwanda.

FITA has been a long supporter of the humanitarian activities of World Taekwondo and the THF and collaborated with the THF two years ago in delivering programmes in a refugee camp in Rome. Similarly, the City of Rome is looking to engage and support refugees in the local community. The specific activities established as a result of the agreement and the related financial responsibilities will be mutually discussed and agreed to by all parties prior to their implementation.

Conducting joint projects Exchange of good practices, know-how, information and publications Organizing joint meetings, workshops and conferences

Social Responsibility

243


World Taekwondo Reinforces Humanitarian Commitment on World Refugee Day

World Taekwondo reiterated its commitment to using the power of sport to contribute to a better and more peaceful society on June 20 - World Refugee Day WT is one of the world’s leading international federations (IFs) in promoting peace through sport. In 2016 it established the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, or THF, in order to empower refugees through taekwondo. The THF has gone on to establish projects in Jordan, Nepal, Turkey, Djibouti, Rwanda and France. In April, the THF opened its first. fully dedicated taekwondo training facility in the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. The facility serves about 200 boys and girls, providing them with an important physical activity as well as teaching them critical skills and values which will support them in future life. World Taekwondo President and Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation Chairman Chungwon Choue said: “The refugee crisis is a global crisis. There are over 22.5 million refugees worldwide and half of them are women and children. World Refugee Day is an important reminder that we must all work together to solve this global problem. It is a time to show that we stand together with refugees all over the world and we are ready to support them. “Through the THF, World Taekwondo is supporting refugees in six countries around the world. We have seen the joy sport can bring but we know there is much more that we can do. Once again I reiterate our commitment to working with other IFs to provide refugee children with a broader spectrum of sporting activities. Through sport, we can provide millions of refugees with invaluable life skills and hopes for a brighter future.”

244

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Huamin Donations Enable Azraq Academy, Future THF Projects in Djibouti and Rwanda

Fujairah Crown Prince Makes Generous Donation to THF

On Dec. 12, 2018, Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation Chairman Chungwon Choue met with Chairman of the Huamin Charity Foundation Lu Dezhi in China to provide updates on the Azraq Taekwondo Academy, and also to discuss other humanitarian projects. In 2016, Lu committed to donate USD 600,000 to the THF and to World Taekwondo for three humanitarian projects one of which was the Azraq Taekwondo Academy. Thanks in large part to Lu’s generosity, the THF was able to establish the fully dedicated taekwondo academy in 2018. The academy includes a special plaque to commemorate Huamin Charity Foundation’s generous contribution. Lu expressed his delight at the meaningful contributions being made by the Azraq Taekwondo Academy. The Huamin Charity Foundation has also committed to continue to fund similar projects in Djibouti and Rwanda.

Shandong Taishan Paints Azraq Green The artificial grass outside the Azraq Taekwondo Academy, and the training mats within, were gifted by Shandong Taishan Sports Equipment Co., Ltd. Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation Chairman Chungwon Choue expressed his gratitude to the company and to Chairman Zhiliang Bian for their support of the THF. “Thanks to the donation from Shandong Taishan, the children have a new surface to practice on, while the camp itself gets a soft surface and a splash of color,” Choue said. “As we are planning to introduce sports such as badminton to the facility in the near future, this lawn will get plenty of use.” Shandong Taishan has also been confirmed as the official sole mat supplier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Fujairah Crown Prince Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi committed to donate an annual sum of USD100,000 to the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, or THF, on Nov. 21. The royal made his commitment while being presented with an honorary black belt by WT President Chungwon Choue at the Rumailah Palace in Fujairah, UAE, just prior to the opening of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Fujairah. Choue was bowled over by the surprise move. “The crown prince’s extremely generous annual commitment to the THF is hugely appreciated, and will be a major boost in helping us empower the powerless worldwide,” Choue said. “Fujairah is doing a wonderful job,” he added. He personally thanked the royal for his efforts on behalf of the sport, which include not just 2018’s trilogy of year-end events – the World

Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, the 5th Annual Gala Awards and the 2018 World Taekwondo Team Championships - but also the annual Fujairah Open tournament. Meanwhile, facilities and activities are being upgraded at the THF’s flagship project, the Azraq Taekwondo Academy, which teaches taekwondo, as well as Olympic values and global citizenship to Syrian refugees in Jordan. A purpose-built, taekwondo-dedicated facility was erected in the camp in April, complete with a classroom. A lawn of artificial grass has also been laid outside it, adding a much-needed splash of color to the drab surroundings. Three other Olympics sports – badminton, table tennis and wrestling – are set to be introduced at the facility in the near future, after their federations signed memoranda of understanding with the THF and WT.

Social Responsibility

245


First-Ever Refugee Team to Compete at G1 Competition Takes Home 5 Medals President of the Jordan Taekwondo Federation Prince Rashid bin Hassan officially closed the El Hassan Cup International G1, a World Taekwondo officially ranked competition, in which a refugee team from Taekwondo’s Humanitarian Foundation’s Azraq Academy in Jordan participated. More than 1,200 players from 30 countries competed in the tournament which took place in Amman from July 5-8. Nine students, including two girls, from the Azraq Taekwondo Academy took part in the competition. The team did extremely well, with five students, more than half of the total who competed, winning medals - one gold, one silver and three bronzes. • • • • •

Yahya Basam Al-Ghoutani (Gold medal) Asamaa Al Salman (Silver medal) Mohammad Sbaih (Bronze medal) Abed Al Kareem Al Khalil (Bronze medal) Ahmad Al Salman (Bronze medal)

Azraq Taekwondo Academy Coach Asif Sabbah started preparing selected students for participation in the tournament two months prior, with special training in taekwondo match fights and mental preparation. Having gained the attention of several Jordanian media, there is much to celebrate for these young athletes who became part of the first-ever full refugee team to participate in a G1 taekwondo tournament worldwide. It provided them with an unforgettable experience, while giving them further inspiration to continue their taekwondo journey. The participation of the nine refugee athletes in the El Hassan tournament would not have been possible without the generous contribution of Mazen Ayass, who hosted the THF team in his hotel, the Ayass Hotel, during their 5-night stay in Amman for the competition. Nor could they have appeared on the mats without the full support of the Jordan Taekwondo Federation.

246

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Sustainability in Action: Azraq Produces 2nd and 3rd Black Belts 1st black belt awarded Olympic Solidarity scholarship as THF facility comes of age in Jordan 15-year-old Yahya Basam Al-Ghoutani, a Syrian refugee living at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, obtained his black belt on Oct 6, closely followed by 17-year-old Abed Al Karim Ehsan Khalil, who obtained his on Nov. 24. Their promotions made them, respectively, the second and third black belts to be promoted from among the taekwondo students attending the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation’s Azraq Taekwondo Academy. The first, Wael Al-Farraj obtained his black belt in December 2017. He is currently the recipient of an Olympic Solidarity scholarship, awarded in June, which offers him training funds for one year. The funds are administered by the Jordan Olympic Committee, and are aimed at assisting him with his training as he seeks to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Black Belt #2 Accompanied by Azraq Academy and THF Coach Asef Sabah, Yahya was able to pass his 1st-dan black belt test at the Prince Rashed bin El Hassan venue in Amman. He successfully completed the test after an outstanding performance. “I found out about taekwondo thanks to Coach Asef,” said Yayha, who started participating at the academy in 2016. “My family accepted the idea of me participating in the THF’s taekwondo program, and with the support of the coach I was able to start training.” Although Yayha struggled at first, as his school grades and studies were an issue which could have jeopardized his training, he was able to pass and continue forward with his taekwondo journey. Yayha, who has been doing taekwondo for a little over two years now, is highly ambitious and not afraid to dream big, “With the help of my coach and family I hope I can one day go to the Olympics,” he said. He decided to take part in the program or order to make the

change from ordinary person to athlete. Yayha has already joined fellow black-belt Wael in assisting Coach Asef in the training of other participants, indicating the that academy is now generating its own junior coaches. Black Belt #3 17-year-old Abed Al Karim Ehsan Khalil obtained his 1st-dan black belt on Nov. 24, when, accompanied by Azraq Academy and THF Coach Asef Sabah, he took belt test at the Rashed Bin El Hassan venue in Amman. Abed has been participating in the Taekwondo Academy since the beginning of the THF’s program. “I was talking with a friend about taekwondo, based on a Korean show that we watched earlier in the camp,” he said. “After a while, taekwondo classes were held in the camp ... and my friend Wael and I were two of the first people who registered.” The sport has clearly had an impact on him. “Taekwondo has influenced me positively especially with my time management skills,” he said. “Also, taekwondo makes me feel better and has enriched my sport spirit and morals.” Like many of his friends and fellow participants, he is thinking big, declaring that his ambition is to participate in the 2020 Olympic Games. “I will do my best and train hard, so I can achieve my dream,” he said. The commitment, determination and desire of the three newly minted black belts and wannabe Olympics is inspirational to all who meet them. And very clearly, the Azraq Academcy is starting to become self-sustaining as it generates home-grown black belts. These achievements represent the potential that exists for success in all THF projects globally, as the foundation pushes ahead with its goal to provide hope to refugee children and youth in all corners of the world.

Social Responsibility

247


2018 Jeju World Peace Walkathon Works for Powerless

The 2018 Jeju World Peace Walkathon was held on the “World Peace Island” of Jeju on July 17, 2018 drawing hundreds of people from around world. The inaugural charity walking event, which was held at the Jeju Seaside Art Center in Jeju City, was jointly promoted by World Taekwondo and GCS International, a Seoul-headquartered, UN-recognized NGO. “Taekwondo is a combat sport, but here, on the island of world peace, it is an art of friendship and peace,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. The walkathon drew hundreds of people, mostly athletes and officials attending the 2018 Jeju Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships, which kicked off on July 18 for a week-long event. The opening ceremony featured a taekwondo demonstration by about 40 senior Jeju citizens, whose average age was 80. “I am pleased to see that, here today, we have so many athletes and officials from around the world, who will be participating in the

2018 Jeju Korea Open,” said Choue in his opening remarks. “To fulfill its social responsibility, World Taekwondo will more actively carry out humanitarian projects to empower the powerless around the world.” He continued, “We are doing it through our in-house ‘Taekwondo Cares’ program. We are doing this through our Swiss-based charity, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. And we will also be doing it hand in hand with GCS International and other international NGOs.” At the end of the opening ceremony, WT Council Member In-seon Kim, together with two Uzbek female athletes and two Nepalese female athletes, recited the slogan of the event, “Peace is More Precious than Triumph,” three times in English and Korean. After a 30-minute opening ceremony at the Jeju Seaside Art Center, participants joined a 2.3km seaside walk from the center to the famous tourist attraction of Yongduam Rock. via the Yongyeon Bridge. The walkathon raised funds to be disbursed to orphans, reformatory inmates and victims of natural disasters in developing countries.

‘World Peace Island’ is setting for Open Taekwondo Championship and for fund-raising walkathon

248

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

Social Responsibility

249


I

THF Opens New Taekwondo School for Refugees in Niger The THF’s mission to empower the powerless gathers pace across Africa

250

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

n a continuation of its mission to share the benefits of taekwondo and its philosophy to empower refugees and displaced persons, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation celebrated the launch of its latest project in Diffa region, Niger where operations officially started in early September. The project is the fruit of a collaboration between the foundation and the Niger National Olympic Committee (COSN), with the generous support of COSN President Ide Issaka, along with the involvement of local taekwondo Olympian Issoufou Alfaga, silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He is also the 2017 World Taekwondo champion, and UNICEF Ambassador for Niger. Diffa, located in the extreme southeast of Niger, and its neighbouring region of Northern Nigeria, have been severely affected by conflict and terrorist attacks in recent years, leading to a high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Nigerian refugees. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, there were more than 118,000 Nigerian refugees and 104,000 IDPs in the Diffa region, as of June 2018. The THF’s Diffa project intends to help refugees and IDP’s of the region by addressing psychosocial issues caused by the traumatic events they have been through, offering them a fun yet effective and holistic sport and martial art. Taekwondo training helps children and

youth by fostering physical and mental wellbeing along with social interaction, while also giving the students a framework of personal discipline and ethics in an environment where they can feel safe. By doing so it is the project leaders’ intention to help all participants find a way to metabolise and transcend their precarious situation, helping them regain part of their childhood and finding hope for a better future. In Diffa, nearly 60 percent of refugees and displaced persons are aged 17 or under. In displaced situations, formal education is often very limited and sometimes unavailable. Through taekwondo, the THF aims to address this issue by providing children and youth with important universal values such as team work, fairplay, integrity, discipline, and respect. The THF’s education programme further focuses on world peace, sustainability and good global citizenship. In addition, approximately 53 percent of children and youth living in Diffa are girls, who face additional barriers to access basic learning opportunities. Taekwondo can provide them with an important educational base and an increased self-confidence allowing them to discover their full potential. A series of demonstrations is set to be organised in various schools at the start of the academic year in October to encourage children and youth to participate in the programme and promoting taekwondo to girls. According to local THF Coach Amadou Oumarou, “Children are very interested in the sport, especially those under the age of 15.” The Diffa project is the foundation’s third project in Africa, with academies already running in Rwanda and Djibouti. It demonstrates the THF’s commitment to continue to provide life-changing opportunities to severely vulnerable populations in multiple regions of the African continent. The initiative is aligned with World Taekwondo’s, the THF’s and the Niger National Olympic Committee’s common agenda to further support the learning opportunities of children and youth in vulnerable situations, and to encourage their understanding of world peace, the values of Olympism and good global citizenship.

Social Responsibility

251


Taekwondo in Spotlight at Inaugural Paris Peace Forum

Event Calendar

The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) was the sole sports project besides football selected amongst 120 other projects and initiatives from around the world, with over 850 applicants, to be showcased at the first ever Paris Peace Forum (PPF) held on Nov. 11-13, 2018 in Paris. The forum is a new annual global platform dedicated to governance, international cooperation and peace. The PPF aims to strengthen and improve international cooperation by gathering all actors of global governance, from states and international organizations to civil society, and by featuring projects and initiatives designed to improve global governance in five key areas: peace and security, the environment, development, new technologies and inclusive economy. The first PPF was attended by 65 heads of state and government, 10 international organization leaders, and more than 10,000 visitors from local governments, NGOs, foundations, companies, media, trade unions and religious groups. THF delegates on site included THF Executive Director Roger Piarulli, World Taekwondo Council Member Nadin Dawani and THF Consultant Giovanni di Cola. The THF was selected as one of 120 governance projects and initiatives to be presented in the peace and security village of the forum with a

252

TAEKWONDO Official Publication of WT

dedicated presentation booth. This allowed fruitful networking opportunities, as it was visited by high-visibility personalities, global governance stakeholders and media. The THF was also showcased on Nov. 12 as a featured project in the panel discussion on peace-building and reconciliation, and the golden alliance of sports and diplomacy. Recognising that sport provides invaluable resources for inclusion, reconciliation and peace-building, the panel focused on how to best tap sport’s potential to foster peace. Other panellists included French professional football player Youri Jorkaeff, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar 2022 Hassan El Thawadi, and the Head of Sport and Development of the Common wealth Secretariat Oliver Dudfield. Focusing its presentation on the power of taekwondo to catalyse peace, THF’s participation in the PPF, which aims at becoming the new Davos for Peace and Governance, was fully aligned with the vision of THF Chairman Chungwon Choue. Choue has continuously invited global sports leaders to collaborate with World Taekwondo and THF in offering sports for refugees and displaced youth.

2019 Last Updated: Jan. 15, 2019

DATE

PLACE

EVENT

EVENT GRADE

Feb. 5-6

Antalya, Turkey

8th World Para Taekwondo Championships

April 26-28

Wuxi, China

Open Qualification Tournament I for Wuxi 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

May 15-19

Manchester, UK

Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships

June 7-9

Rome, Italy

Roma 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

G-4

July

TBD

World Taekwondo Cadet Championships

N/A

Aug. 23-25

Wuxi, China

Wuxi 2019 World Taekwondo World Cup Team Championships

G-8

Sept. 13-15

Chiba, Japan

Chiba 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

G-4

Oct. 18-20

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

G-4

Nov. 1-3

Wuxi, China

Open Qualification Tournament II for Wuxi 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

G-2

Dec. 6-7

Moscow, Russia

Moscow 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final

G-8

Dec. 17-22

Wuxi, China

Wuxi 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

N/A

TBD

TBD

World Taekwondo Beach Championships

N/A

G-10/G-10 G-2 G-12


Peace is more Precious than Triumph

Official Publication of World Taekwondo 106

2019 ISSN 1599-3779

Publisher / Chungwon Choue, President Editor-in Chief / Magazine Director / Heesoo Noh Editors / Andrew Salmon, Wooram Kim Contributing Photographers / Denis Sekretev Designed by / DN (www.d-n.kr | d-n@daum.net)

The WT is delighted to bring you the official publication of the federation. The WT Taekwondo magazine epitomizes our enthusiasm and progressive mindset in leading taekwondo and the WT. The WT Taekwondo magazine is published annually. It is a summary of the previous year’s events, competition results and happenings throughout the world of taekwondo. It provides the events of the year, interviews with taekwondo stars and useful information on taekwondo.

Š 2019 World Taekwondo This publication and its contents may not be reproduced, even in part, in any form, without the written permission of the WT.

WT Headquarters

WT Lausanne Office

5th Fl., Kolon Bldg 15 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea, 03044

Avenue de Rhodanie 54, 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland

Tel: (82-2) 566-2505 / 557-5446 Fax: (82-2) 553-4728 E-mail: pr@worldtaekwondo.org

Tel: (41-21) 601-5013 Fax: (41-21) 601-5983 E-mail: lausanne@worldtaekwondo.org

Homepage: www.worldtaekwondo.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WorldTaekwondo1 Twitter: @Worldtaekwondo1 Instagram: @worldtaekwondo.pr Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/worldtaekwondo


Profile for 제이브릭스개발팀

World Taekwondo 2019 Magazine  

World Taekwondo 2019 Magazine  

Profile for 977618