Iraqtaekwondo has been in a state of confusion for over 4 years and nobody cares toknow what is really going on.

The lastlegitimate President of Iraq Taekwondo Federation was Dr. Mahmood Shukur whowon the election in 2008 after a long struggle against those who wanted to stagea takeover in the federation.

After theelection Dr. Mahmood tried to bring stability to Iraq Taekwondo Federation andin 2012 was able to appeal to Mr. Kiarash Bahri, an Iranian taekwondo official whowas a member of World Taekwondo Games Committee, the Deputy Secretary Generalof Asian Taekwondo Union and the Secretary General of West Asian TaekwondoUnion to come on board as the National Team Manager to help Iraq Taekwondo Federation.

A new era hadstarted as a steady growth was perceived in Iraq taekwondo from 2012 to 2015and athletes and Iraqi federation started flourishing as things started to becomemore stable.

In 2013 forthe first time in Iraq Taekwondo history a Kukkiwon Grand Master was brought toIraq to conduct a Kukkiwon test in two cities of Erbil in north and Basra insouth.  

As the nextstep in the same year to educate and train Iraqi coaches a “Coaches Seminar”was conducted in Erbil city by a Korean Grand Master.

In additionan Iranian coach who was a member of the coaching staff that later won the WTJunior World Championship was hired on a short term contract to train the IraqNational Junior team and prepare them to participate in the Arab Junior Championshipin Jordan in 2013.

NationalJunior team under the management and direction of the new National Teamsmanager, Kiarash Bahri, and a young promising Iraqi coach named Nabil Ghasem -an ex national team player - travelled to Amman, Jordan with 4 players and wereable to achieve great results when they won  a Gold and a Silver medal that year.

At the sametime internationally Iraq Taekwondo Federation witnessed an increase ofinfluence in the World and Asian taekwondo officials and for the first time inits taekwondo history the federation President, Dr. Mahmood Shukur, was namedthe Vice Chairman of Education Committee.

In themeantime for the senior national team, a young Iranian coach - a veterantaekwondo athlete with several Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in World andAsian Championships named Reza Naderian - was brought on board with a shortterm contract for the to train the senior Iraq National Team with an Iraqicoach to assist him.  

IraqNational team trained with the new coach and the result was a higher thanexpected level of performance in 2014 Asian Championship in Tashkent,Uzbekistan and then in the 2015 World Championship in Russia.

Taekwondohad stepped in the right direction to develop and fulfill its capacities as anOlympic sport but unfortunately for Iraq taekwondo things started to go badlyin mid-2015.

First therewas a scandal about the forgery of the signature of the National Team manageron his contracts submitted to the Iraq National Olympic Committee.

There was abitter dispute between Mr. Bahri and the Iraq Taekwondo Federation about  forged signature on the contracts.

Mr. Bahridid not renew his contract and tried to collect his salary, U$D 10,000, from theIraq National Olympic Committee.

 Inappropriately IRAQ National OlympicCommittee did not honor its contract and Mr. Bahri was eventually forced toleave Iraq without getting paid.

Late in 2015another scandal hit Iraq Taekwondo Federation as it became clear that rumorscirculating for some time about inappropriate use of funds by Dr. Mahmood andhis Secretary General ……..  were true.

TKD PLUSreporter through a confidential source was told that the shady business rundeep within the federation with the help of some Iraq National Olympic Committeeofficials.

 The result of these events brought desolate toIraq taekwondo and had made the President of the federation, Dr. Mahmood Shukur,leave Baghdad for the Kurdistan region in haste.

Since thattime Iraq Taekwondo Federation as an independent association is virtuallynonexistent and has been run by Iraq National Olympic Committee officials.

In its partIraq National Olympic Committee has virtually refused to hold an election tohave a new President for the Iraq Taekwondo Federation and it looks as if IraqNational Olympic Committee has no immediate plans to hold an election in thenear future either.

One wouldthink that all these events would prompt an inquiry or even a closer look bythe Asian Taekwondo Union and/or the World Taekwondo to help Iraq TaekwondoFederation settle these scandals but it looks as if both administrativeorganizations have chosen to close their eyes to everything to hear no evil andsee no evil.  

In themeantime Iraq taekwondo is in disarray and shady characters are using taekwondoin Iraq for their own benefit to fill their pockets while some true taekwondomen sitting on the sidelines and hoping that one day again Iraq taekwondo canset course in the right direction for a brighter future.

 

  

International Para Olympic Committee (IPC) has finally confirmed the inclusion of Para Taekwondo in the Games for the Paris Olympic in 2024.

President of World Taekwondo, Dr. Chung Won Choue was delighted with the news and said: "We have been working very hard to develop the sport and we have seen a huge growth in Para taekwondo in recent years and we are delighted that Para Taekwondo is included in Paris 2024."

"I want to thank the IPC for their continued trust in our sport and we have no doubt our athletes will repay this trust by putting on an excellent show at Paris 2024." Dr Choue said in an statement.

World Taekwondo (WT) first started developing Para Taekwondo in 2006 by starting the Para Taekwondo Committee to help develop and promote taekwondo among physically impaired athletes with limb deficiency or arm amputee and held its first ever World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2009.

However following an unsuccessful bet to be included in the 2016 Rio Para Olympics, WT decided to form a "Workgroup" in 2013 to make an evaluation on the ways for Para taekwondo to be more successful and find its way to the Para Olympic Games in 2020.

At the recommendation of this work group after meetings with "Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association" (CPISRA) and "International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability" (INAS) World Taekwondo decided to change its format and develop Para Taekwondo to make it available for athletes of all disabilities.

WT also decided to select Poomsae to be a part of competitions and to be performed by Neurologically, Intellectually and Visually Impaired athletes.

Para Taekwondo with its new format was unveiled in Moscow during the 5th WT World Para Taekwondo Championships and later was included as a demonstration sport during the 2015 INAS Global Games and the 2015 CPISRA World Games.

On January 31st, 2017 Para Taekwondo found its way to the Para Olympic Games when it was confirmed as a sport for the 2020 Tokyo Para Olympic Games at the the International Para-Olympic Committee (IPC) General Assembly.

Mujo – World Taekwondo (WT) set in motion the “Education Certification” course that is designed to develop a program to prepare instructors to teach coaches of member nations.

This course was promoted by the World Taekwondo, organized by the “Taekwondo Promotion Foundation” and held at Taekwondowon in Mujo, South Korea on March 9 to 11, 2019.

The course covers such topics as, WT Competition Rules, Safeguarding Athletes, Anti-Doping, Medical and other Emergency Management, WT history, Culture, and much more.

Of course promoting and organizing such courses by World Taekwondo if done with the right objectives in mind is a step in the right direction but unfortunately WT does not give any detailed information on how this course was conducted.

A closer look at the subjects prepared for this course brings up the questions on the objectiveness of this course and what impact teaching Korean culture or WT history would have on improving technical abilities of the participating coaches to enable them to train better taekwondo athletes.

According to the WT site 28 participants – all recommended by their own national associations - from 24 countries participated in the course but there is no mention of which countries or from what continent the participants were!

Dr. Chungwon Choue, WT President said “Those who take and pass this course will be certified to pass their newly acquired skills and knowledge on to coaches in their home countries, and from there, the expertise will spread throughout their federations.”

Undeniably organizing such courses to raise the general knowledge of the coaches to train future taekwondo hopefuls can help improve the quality of instructors around the world if the selection of the participants and the curriculum could be done more skillfully.  

After over a decade of talks and many setbacks now there are signs suggesting that the two main rivals of the past – World Taekwondo from South Korea and International Taekwondo Federation from North Korea – are getting closer to finding common grounds for a probable unification.

Discussions, maybe better put negotiations between the two organizations have been going on since early 2006 with the now retired President of Asian Taekwondo Union, Dr. Lee Dai Soon leading the way.

Despite knowing what a difficult task was at hand the old politician and staunch believer of peace and harmony hoped to find mutual grounds that would interest both sides.

So naturally in 2006 negotiations between WT and ITF started with closer reflection on technical issues which seemed to be one of the more important issues needed to be worked on.

Needless to say that since its induction into the Olympics in 88, WT found it necessary to change its image from a Martial Art to a Sport to stay as a part of the summer Olympic Games but the change was confronted by a discontentment by some of the old Taekwondo Grand Masters in Korea.

The changes took on a faster pace with the coming of the new President, Dr. Chungwon Choue, in 2006.

Introduction of Personal Scoring System (PSS) by Dr. Choue was one of the most important steps trying to break the Korean monopoly on taekwondo and giving a “Fairer” image of the sport.

In the meantime while  “World Taekwondo” had gone through an almost complete “face lift” trying to improve its image and survive as an Olympic sport, it seemed that International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) had stayed loyal to the old style of taekwondo in trying to keep its image as a Martial Art.

Even though the idea of unifying WT and ITF has long been thought of by the President of the World Taekwondo, but in reality the gaps between the two organizations - sometimes dictated by the political events - appeared too big to overcome and it looked as if a compromise with the “boys from the north” would need a great deal of effort.

Everything was at a stalemate until in an unexpected turn of events; North Korea showed an enthusiastic inclination to join the international community and that opened the door for closer talks with ITF.

The events that followed led to a statement by WT and ITF on March 27th giving news of a joint taekwondo demonstration to mark the 25th anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion in the Olympic program.

The announcement stated that World Taekwondo (WT) and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) will jointly organize taekwondo demonstration performances three times in April in Vienna, the Olympic capital of Lausanne and Geneva as the two federations showcase the influence of sport to unite humanity.

The events were proposed by WT President Chungwon Choue and agreed on by ITF President Yong Son Ri at the end of 2018 and will be held under the theme of “One World, One Taekwondo.”

“I am delighted that the ITF has agreed to join WT in celebrating the power of taekwondo to unite people around the world. The three, high-profile events in Switzerland and Austria will coincide with the anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion on the Olympic program, which has helped spread the message of taekwondo around the world,” said WT President Chungwon Choue.

In November of 2018 President Choue proposed to IOC President, Thomas Bach, to hold these events to commemorate the “Silver” anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion in the summer Olympic Games and subsequently Mr. Bach agreed to support this proposal.

The first demonstration will be in Vienna on April 5th, where ITF’s headquarters are located at and then they will move to Lausanne where President Bach has agreed to hold the taekwondo demonstration at the Olympic museum on April 11th in a joint effort with the WT.

IOC President will attend the Lausanne event along with ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as a show of support.

The two federations will complete their trio of joint-demonstrations with an event in Geneva at the United Nations offices on 12 April.

 

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