IOC President Thomas Bach has granted World Taekwondo a“Women and Sport” Achievement Diploma in recognition of its outstanding contribution to promoting the development and participation of women and girls in sport. It was received by WT on Dec. 6.
WT made specific efforts for gender equality at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. In Rio, in addition to the customary 50:50 split in taekwondo’s competitive categories (four female and four male weight categories), the federation, for the first time, had a 50:50 gender split in its contingent of international referees.
WT is also promoting a new category in its annual Team Championships: A mixed-gender team. The category was first experimentally contested alongside the existing female team and male team formats at the 2016 World Taekwondo Team Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was most recently contested on the regular program at the 2017 championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
“It is deeply rewarding to receive recognition from the IOC for our efforts to promote gender equality,” said WT President Chungwon Choue. “But our challenge now is not just gender equality, it is equality in all areas: World Taekwondo aspires to break all barriers of gender, race, religion or culture in order to truly become a sport for all.”
The federation continues to promote geographical equality. In 2017, it has hosted top-level events in Africa: The Grand Prix Series 2 in Rabat, Morocco, and the Grand Prix Finals and World Taekwondo Team Championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
It is also promoting equality of opportunity. In response to the global refugee crisis, WT’s charity initiative the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation is operating taekwondo training and education programs in refugee camps in Jordan and Rwanda, with another program planned for Djibouti in the near future.