ATU: Imminent elections
The Asian Taekwondo Union will be holding its first elections in 14 years. Current ATU President Dai-soon Lee was elected back in 1999 and has continued in his position until today.
The ATU Executive Council Meeting and General Assembly will take place in Muju, Korea, on November 28th. The newly elected president will lead the Asian organization until 2017. The main focus of these elections is on whether the new president will be Korean or non-Korean.
There are 4 candidates to ATU presidency: Kyu-Seok Lee (Korea), Milan Kwee (Singapore), Seyed Mohammad Pouladgar (Iran) and Sung-Tae Kim (Korea).
Kyu-Seok Lee is currently ATU vice-president and secretary general, and he is also director at several organizations such as Kukkiwon and Korea Taekwondo Association.
Milan Kwee is the current president of Singapore Taekwondo Federation and is also an ATU Executive Council member. At the recent WTF General Assembly, he was also elected WTF Executive Council member. He is known to have built a strong relationship with Taekwondo leaders of South East Asian countries. Hence he is considered one of Lee’s strongest opponents.
Seyed Mohammad Pouladgar is president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Taekwondo Federation and has led the growth of Taekwondo in Iran. He is also
ATU vice-president and in the WTF he is considered as one of the most active leaders among Islamic countries.
Sung-Tae Kim is a business man who has been involved in Taekwondo for a long time. He is an ATU Executive Council member, vice-president of the KTA and president of the Busan Taekwondo Association. However, Kim has decided to unify his candidacy with Lee, stating that the ATU should still be led by a Korean person.
With 3 candidates left, it is suspected that Pouladgar might also give up his candidacy in order to support one of the other 2, most probably Milan Kwee. Therefore, at the end of the day the ATU elections might result in a confrontation between Kyu-Seok Lee and Milan Kwee.
Lee’s long time experience in ATU and his influence in the Taekwondo community are two of his strongest points, yet his prolonged power position is also one of his weakest aspects. He was member of the WTF Executive Council and has been elected again at the last elections.
Kwee is being supported by the South East Asian region and since he became WTF Executive Council member, he has been building strong relationships with several MNA presidents and exerting a significant influence in the international Taekwondo society. He is also known to be very close to Ser Miang Ng, IOC member who took part in the last IOC presidential race.
Depending on who wins the elections and how, there could be a major change in the Taekwondo global panorama.