Why politicians within Taekwondo?
The project to turn Taekwondo into a truly global sport with a place within the Olympic Movement, led in the recent years by the current WTF President, Chungwon Choue, and his work team, seems to have come up against the opposition from the current government of Korea, who pretends to take control of some of the most important institutions of our sport worldwide.
The election of Tae-Hwan Kim as the new President of the KTA (Korea Taekwondo Association) last February was the first proof of this initiative. Despite not having been linked to Taekwondo before, Kim, a congressman from the party that leads the Asian Republic and considered as one of the closest persons to the current President of the country, Geun-Hye Park, took charge of the most traditional national associations of our sport.
The second move from the Saenuri party is to take the reins of no less than the WTF, the Taekwondo goberning body worldwide. In this case, the chosen person to lead the entity is Moon-Jong Hong, another congressman who is part of President Park’s group. Hong has already made public his intention of running for President of the WTF through a single candidacy with Dr. Choue, current president of the organization who Hong wants to move aside from the electoral race.
The third step to the control of Taekwondo would be reaching the presidency of Kukkiwon, one of the intitutions related to Taekwondo with a bigger history and prestige in the world. The candidate who’s being considered by the press is Sang-Su An, former congressman from the same party.
Will this entrance of Korean politics on the Taekwondo scene benefit the current status of our sport?
-which is now considered a global Olympic discipline-
Throughout his 9 years in front of the WTF, Dr. Choue has transformed Taekwondo into a universal sport open to the world, a fact that was key for Taekwondo’s permanence within the Olympic Programme until 2020. The universal organization and functioning of the WTF were crucial for the IOC’s decision, even more important than the great success that London 2012’s competition achieved.
The accession of Korean politicians without previous Taekwondo background to the high circles of our sport could be intepreted as a step backward after its opening to the world, as it could be seen as a purely Korean sport again.
No politicians presiding other Olympic sports
In this sense, it needs to be mentioned that none of the other 35 Olympic sports -including Summer and Winter Games- is led by active politicians without a sports background. The current leaders of these sports are IOC members, former competitors of the different disciplines or businessmen with a long relationship with the sport in question.
The IOC specifies that the Presidential elections of the Olympic sports’ International Federations should be ruled by democratic values, transparency, clarity and respect to the ethical code of the organization.
So what consequences would this political initiative have in case of being successful?
For now, the first anomalous consequences within the KTA have already come true. The composition of the Executive Board firstly named by Tae-Hwan Kim was not approved by the KOC (Korean Olympic Committee), as some of the names had already participated in his election as KTA President. Thus, even Kim was elected President almost 2 months ago, his Board could not be established until yesterday.
Such a complicated process caused the resignation of the Secretary General of the organization, Mu-Chen Kim, who decided to quit after only one month in charge due to the inability from the President to set up a Board. His replacement, the former Korean National Team coach Se-Hyek Kim, was announced early this week.
How will this political invasion affect Taekwondo in the end? Stay tunned to WTM to be uptated.
© World Taekwon Media
It is forbidden to sell, license, copy or reproduce the contents of this website in whole or in part, in any manner, for commercial purposes, without the prior written consent of the respective owners.