|World Taekwondo President Choue Chung-won, left, and International Taekwondo Federation President Ri Yong-son sign the agreement for the integration of taekwondo, in Pyongyang, Friday. Courtesy of World Taekwondo|
By Jung Min-ho
PYONGYANG, North Korea ― Two international taekwondo governing bodies will form a joint committee by the end of the year in an effort to integrate the sport.
World Taekwondo (WT), under the leadership of South Korean Choue Chung-won, and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), led by North Korean Ri Yong-son, agreed on Friday to set up a joint body next month 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 of the integration have not been specified. The committee will decide what kind of changes should be made and how to do them.
In a significant agreement, WT and the ITF will also work together for collaborative overseas events.
"The International Olympics Committee (IOC) decided to add taekwondo to one of its main sports in 1994," Choue said. "Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the achievement. It will be great to demonstrate our sport to other countries together. I'm sure the IOC will welcome it."
Ri said he is 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 will also cooperate to list taekwondo under UNESCO.
"Taekwondo is (ours) Korea's, but not our own anymore," Choue said. "There will be more meetings and talks. Together, we will keep taekwondo as truly a global sport."
The ITF was established in Seoul in 1966 by former South Korean army major general Choi Hong-hi, who later moved to Canada as a political exile. In the early 1980s, the ITF started to develop close relations with North Korea as it spread taekwondo to the world.
World taekwondo leaders later felt the necessity to found another international body for the sport and set up WT in 1973. Since then, it has grown into the official international governing body recognized by the IOC with 209 national member associations.
For a long time, WT and the ITF refused to recognize each other, maintaining that they were the only international governing body for the sport. But in recent years, their relations have improved greatly.
|Choue and Ri shake hands during the signing ceremony in Pyongyang, Friday.|
Reflecting the unanimous desire of all Taekwon-Doists all over the world for one single Taekwon-Do, and
Aspiring after the uniform development of Taekwon-Do,
The World Taekwondo (herein after referred to as WT) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (herein after referred to as ITF) agree as follows in Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea:
1. WT and ITF shall establish a joint body committed to the integration of Taekwon-Do and decide on the committee's name, characteristics and mandate through consultation between the two Federations within December 2018.
2. WT and ITF shall conduct various activities to promote the integration of Taekwon-Do.
2.1 WT and ITF shall make joint efforts to realize joint demonstration in China, Russia, Switzerland, the United States and Japan on different occasions, including the 32nd Olympic Games. To this end, WT and ITF shall authorize the joint body to consult on the installation of a joint training center for gradual unification of the joint demonstration.
2.2 WT and ITF shall make efforts to co-host, on a trial basis, an international tournament guided by the tournament rules of both Federations respectively.
2.3 WT and ITF shall make sure that Dan certificates, Umpire certificates and other certificates are cross-recognized through relevant procedures so that the Taekwon-Doists under both Federations can participate in each other's recognized and promoted tournaments as well as World and Continental Championships.
2.4 WT and ITF shall actively cooperate with each other so that the south and north of Korea register Taekwon-Do in UNESCO jointly.
3. WT and ITF, for the sustainable implementation of the above provisions, shall meet more than once a month at a place agreed upon by both parties to consult on the relevant issues and take necessary measures for them, and shall refrain from any act that goes against each other.
The WT President and the ITF President shall meet each other frequently to consult on the establishment of the joint body and other practical issues concerning the prosperity and development of Taekwon-Do and take necessary measures for them.
On behalf of WT
Dr. Choue Chung-won
On behalf of ITF
Prof. Ri Yong-son
November 2, 2018