President Chungwon Choue

Week 193 (24 - 30 June 2017)

It has been an impressive week for World Taekwondo (WT) and its recently re-elected President Chungwon Choue.

This week has seen the approval of a landmark change to the organisation’s name, the biggest World Championships in the organisation’s history, and a big step towards cooperating with the North Korean-based International Taekwondo Federation (ITF). President Choue, who has been at the helm since 2004, will likely reflect on the past seven days as one of his most memorable weeks in charge.

World Taekwondo officially launched its new brand and logo at the General Assembly, which was held a day before the 23rd World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, South Korea. Until this week, the 44 year-old organisation was known as the World Taekwondo Federation, or WTF. The decision to rebrand the organisation as World Taekwondo led to widespread international coverage and demonstrated President Choue’s awareness of the “digital age” and the “negative connotations” associated with the WTF acronym.

Commenting on the historic change, President Choue said:

“We know that in such a competitive world, we must always evolve and adapt to stay relevant and appeal to young and modern audiences. In the digital age, the acronym of our federation has developed negative connotations unrelated to our organisation and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans. World Taekwondo is distinctive and simple to understand and reinforces the global nature of our sport.”

The name change kick-started an excellent week for Choue and World Taekwondo, with IOC President Thomas Bach congratulating the organisation and its South Korean president on its record-breaking World Championships. The competition was the largest in WT’s history, with 971 athletes and 796 officials from 183 nations involved.

Whilst at the World Championships in Muju, Bach commended Choue for his excellent leadership:

“This competition is a great example of how global taekwondo has become in recent years under the leadership of Dr Choue… This shows already that taekwondo is really a great player on the international sports stage nowadays… For these reasons, the IOC's Executive Board, just a couple of weeks ago, did not hesitate to include taekwondo in the proposed list of Olympic sports for the year 2024.”

This week, Choue also announced that WT and the North Korea-based International Taekwondo Federation have reached “a verbal agreement” to perform a display together during the  PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The agreement, if it materialises, would be an important step towards unifying two International Federations and be an excellent example of sport transcending political divisions.

Discussing the agreement, Choue said:

“I believe we'll be able to engage in cooperation relatively free of the political climate… And if taekwondo can help provide a breakthrough in inter-Korean dialogue, we'll be very pleased.”

Choue also stated that World Taekwondo is holding the doors open for ITF athletes to participate in WT events, as long as they follow WT's rules: “Our motto is, 'One Taekwondo, One World'… We'll embrace everyone who has ever practised taekwondo.”

Since assuming the role as president in 2004, Choue has led taekwondo to become an established Olympic sport and led World Taekwondo to become an exemplary federation. For his consistently excellent work, he is the JTA Communicator of the Week.

Photo: World Taekwondo