I would like to extend my warmest Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year of 2014!
The year 2013 has been hugely successful for the WTF in terms of achieving our goals and objectives.
The highlight was of course the decision taken by the International Olympic Committee in September 2013 to name taekwondo one of the 25 core sports on the 2020 Olympic programme. Taekwondo's inclusion in the Olympic Games in 2020 remains perhaps the WTF's greatest achievement and our continued participation is a huge honour for all of the WTF family. We are very proud of the IOC decision and we will all repay their faith in our beloved sport by working tirelessly to ensure that taekwondo continues to develop worldwide.
In 2013 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the WTF and we took the opportunity to commemorate the energy and devotion of all the athletes, volunteers, officials and Member National Associations that have been involved in our sport over the past four decades. Our federation has come a long way but we are now entering an exciting new period in taekwondo's evolution as we look to realise the sport's hugely untapped global potential over the coming years.
We have had the privilege of watching a number of excellent taekwondo events in 2013.
The World Taekwondo Championships in Puebla, Mexico in July was a huge success and credit must be given to the event organisers and all the athletes, officials and volunteers that contributed to making the championships such an excellent event. In October 2013, Bali, Indonesia, hosted the 8th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships, while November 2013 saw the staging of the 2nd Asia-Europe Intercontinental Taekwondo Championships in Shenzhen, China and the 2013 WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. All of these international competitions were brilliantly organised and helped to reinforce taekwondo's position on the world stage.
Finally, we completed the year with the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix final in Manchester, UK. The competition marked the first step of our next exciting journey. The World Taekwondo GP will not only give our best athletes the chance to compete against one another on a regular basis, but will also allow us to fulfil taekwondo's huge commercial potential. On the opening day of the competitions, we announced our partnership with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace,
which will help us use taekwondo as a vehicle to promote the common goals of sport for all and peace.
The New Year is now upon us, and the year 2014 will be crucial in our continued evolution for the betterment of taekwondo and the WTF.
In 2014 the WTF will do its utmost to make taekwondo on the official programme of the 2020 Paralympic Games. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) makes its final decision in November 2014.
In this regard, the WTF signed partnership agreements in 2013 with four of the international para-sports organisations, including the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf. The WTF was officially granted the status of the IPC-Recognised International Federation in 2013 and participated in the IPC General Assembly as an observer status.
The WTF will also put an equal emphasis on the successful staging of 2014 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix series and final, whose venues will be finalized as early as in January. A growing number of countries are vying to host the Grand Prix events, which draws best athletes and great interest from both the public and international media.
The WTF will continue to revise its competition rules and taekwondo uniforms to show the world a new taekwondo, more dynamic and more transparent and fairer, at the taekwondo competition at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The WTF will also make the 5-on-5 team competitions more appealing to the public and the international media.
The WTF has continued to be a loyal partner to the IOC. The election of the new IOC President, Dr Thomas Bach, at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, marked the beginning of a new and exciting era for the Olympic Movement. But it also highlights the need for constant change, renewal and recalibration of targets. While taekwondo is in a good position currently, we must not become complacent. We must strive to advance our global sport and continue to maintain good relationships with President Bach and the Olympic Family to safeguard our position on the Olympic programme
Dear global taekwondo family, I wish you a successful and prosperous 2014.
Dr. Chungwon Choue
World Taekwondo Federation