The 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1 got off to a somber start in Moscow, Russia as the passing of one of the most important pioneers in the history of sportive taekwondo was announced.
Prior to the commencement of the tournament, the assembled athletes, officials and spectators in Moscow’s Dinamo Krylatskoye Gymnasium stood and observed a minute’s silence to mark the death of Grand Master Chong-woo Lee.
Lee, who died on Aug. 8, 2015 in Seoul at age 88, was known as a fierce fighter from the Jidokwan school of taekwondo, but his real legacy is his central role in the creation of modern sportive taekwondo.
“He was the ‘master designer’ of modern taekwondo competition as it exists today,” said WTF Director General Jin-bang Yang, in an address made on the field of play. “He developed modern competition rules and protective equipment.”
The electronic protector scoring system, or PSS, was also the brainchild of Lee, who served as the first secretary general of the WTF.
“He contributed to the development of taekwondo very, very much when it was first becoming a sporting event in the 1960s,” said WTF Technical Committee Chairman Kook-hyun Jung, who recalled the awe in which Lee was held by the fighters of that time. “He was very logical and intellectual.”
Lee’s funeral was declared an official funeral of the “World Taekwondo Family” for the first time by the WTF, the Kukkiwon, the Korea Taekwondo Association and the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation.