World Taekwondo move to strengthen governance, athlete welfare and anti-doping policies


World Taekwondo held its Extraordinary Council Meeting in Moscow today, committing to further strengthening its policies in a variety of key areas, including governance, athlete welfare and anti-doping.

Chaired by World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue, the World Taekwondo Council made far-reaching decisions that it hopes will benefit the sport and its 210 Member National Associations (MNAs) in the build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Council member and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Aïcha Garad Ali of Djibouti was appointed World Taekwondo’s first female vice-president.

On governance, the Council agreed to improve further World Taekwondo’s transparency, based on recommendations from the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

In addition to publishing upcoming international sports events, World Taekwondo intends to promote and report on all future activities on its website.

Furthermore, the Council agreed to increase its transparency by publishing a list of all suspensions on the World Taekwondo website.

It was also agreed that the Council will communicate a quarterly progress report on all upcoming projects on the website.

“Today, World Taekwondo has taken a major step forward in enhancing our good governance as a global federation,” Choue said.

“In particular, we have listened to ASOIF, and have worked hard to ensure greater transparency in many of the key areas of our sport.

“This is an ongoing process and there will be further reforms to be announced in the near future.”

Aïcha Garad Ali of Djibouti was appointed as World Taekwondo's first female vice-president ©World Taekwondo
Aïcha Garad Ali of Djibouti was appointed as World Taekwondo’s first female vice-president ©World Taekwondo

The Council issued strict mechanisms in its anti-discrimination policy in order to deter any future cases of discrimination.

In particular, Choue has called for greater protection of athletes denied visa access to international competitions for geopolitical reasons.

The Council also approved a policy that will restrict elected officials to 12 years in office.

This will see officials elected for an initial four-year period before the opportunity for a further two consecutive terms.

Once approved by the General Assembly, these measures will come into effect for the 2021 election at the General Assembly in Chinese city Wuxi.

Previous terms served by Council members will not be counted in the new proposal.

On the subject of athlete welfare, the Council approved tighter safety protocols for major international events.

The Council agreed to strengthen the responsibility and processes of the Medical and Anti-Doping Committee, with a greater emphasis on competition safety equipment.

Safeguarding athletes remained at the heart of discussions today, as the Council agreed to develop its complaint system for any form of harassment and abuse of athletes.

In particular, the Council agreed to adopt the IOC’s confidential whistle-blower mechanism on its website.

The Council also reaffirmed World Taekwondo’s commitment to promoting clean sport by combating match-fixing, doping and any form of cheating.

On the subject of athlete welfare, the World Taekwondo Council approved tighter safety protocols for major international events ©Getty Images
On the subject of athlete welfare, the World Taekwondo Council approved tighter safety protocols for major international events ©Getty Images

“World Taekwondo is based on the highest standards of integrity and there is no room for cheats in our sport,” Choue said.

“Therefore, we look forward to working closely with the newly appointed President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Witold Bańka, in the fight to protect clean athletes.”

Australia’s Maher Magableh, a member of the Taekwondo for All Committee, was also welcomed as a new Council member.

South Korea’s Yang Jin-bang, chair of the Technical Commission, was appointed to the Council, which will come into effect from January 1 2020.

The Faroe Islands were also welcomed to the World Taekwondo family, increasing the number of MNAs to 210.

In concluding the meeting, Choue reflected on the successes of 2019, while urging his colleagues to capitalise on the Olympic year ahead.

Tokyo 2020 represents the introduction of taekwondo on to the Paralympic programme.

Choue announced that the next Extraordinary Council Meeting will be held at Olympic House in Lausanne on May 12, 2020.

This followed a meeting between Choue and IOC President Thomas Bach, who was in Athens in October and honoured with the highest distinction of the Hellenic Republic, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix.

The World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final is due to take place in Moscow across tomorrow and Saturday (December 7).

It will be immediately followed by the World Taekwondo Gala Awards.

Original article by: Daniel Etchells