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"ETU: The strongest Continental Union"

"ETU: The strongest Continental Union"

Interview with Mr. Sakis Pragalos, President of the European Taekwondo Union
Q. 2012 has been a really important year for all sports, specially for Taekwondo, because of the London Olympics. Now that is almost over, what is your assessment on this year for Taekwondo in general?
A. The highlight of the year 2012 was of course the astonishing result of the European countries participating at the London 2012 Olympics! With 50% of the medals won by European athletes, I am of course very proud! It shows that Europe has made tremendous steps in the past 4 years and has grown to the strongest Continental Union in the world. In addition to that we can look back to some great ETU events and A-class tournaments in both gyorugi and poomsae. Therefore I would like to thank all organizers and athletes! We got of course some great news last week when was announced that taekwondo shall be included in the program of the European Games in 2015.
Q. How would you assess your organization’s performance during this year?
A. We further professionalized our organization in 2012 and had some good meetings with WTF and other Continental Unions. A good example is the Euro-Asia intercontinental championships which was hosted by the Russian Taekwondo Union. The organization of this event, but also the other events in 2012, was professional and will continue to be professional in the future. ETU is proud that the WTF will add Cadet championships to its list of WTF World Championships! This affirms once more that ETU is the Continental Union which is a true pioneer as we in Europe started also with Junior and Poomsae championships. I hope our cooperation with WTF will continue to flourish also in 2013!

President Pragalos giving the opening speech at the European Para-Taekwondo Championships 2011

Q. As the ETU President, what are your main plans/goals for the ETU in 2013?
A. In 2013 we start with the 1st ETU European Club Championships. In time of financial crisis, we hope to attract enough athletes and coaches to come to Athens to participate at this inaugural event. Also we have some other events planned like the Cadets, Junior, Under 21 and Poomsae European Championships. So it will be a year with some great taekwondo events ahead of us! I am looking forward to it.
Q. In February 2013, the IOC will meet to decide the core Olympic sports for the 2020 Games. Is your organization doing or planning to do anything in particular to help Taekwondo remain as a core sport?
A. Yes of course we are. Not only me, but also all ETU Ex-Co members are supporting WTF in its effort to keep taekwondo in the official program. We are doing so by talking to our National Olympic Committees but also by talking to IOC members. Just a few months ago we had some profound talks with Mr. Bach, an IOC member form Germany. So in that way, we are strongly engaged to make sure, taekwondo will remain in the Olympic program for years to come!
Q. Do you have any special plans for the further development of the ETU?
A. Yes I have! But I will further elaborate on them before the election campaigning will start in the summer of 2013!
Pau Aguilar
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