World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue’s New Year Message for 2021


Dear World Taekwondo family,


Happy New Year to you all!


We enter into 2021 with a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the future.


There is no doubt that 2020 was a very challenging year for all of us. But because of the work we all did together we are well placed to emerge stronger than before; and that is precisely what we will do!


Before we look forward to what we believe will be a very exciting year, we must pay our respects to those we lost in 2020. The taekwondo family is still coming to terms with the passing of General Ahmed Fouly, Vice President of World Taekwondo and President of Taekwondo Africa. He will never be forgotten and we will honour his legacy by continuing to advance taekwondo. We would also like to honour the distinguished, late Taekwondo grandmasters who dedicated their lives to the development of taekwondo worldwide, especially at the grassroots level.


If there was one benefit of 2020, it was that it reminded us about what is most important: our health, our family, and our friends.


It was in the interests of everyone’s health that we postponed or cancelled almost all of our World Taekwondo events from March to the end of 2020. While this was a great disappointment to us, our athletes, and our fans, it did not prevent us from moving forward. When our events restart in 2021, I can assure our stakeholders that they will be held in the safest possible environment after the comprehensive preparations that we have made over the past months.


We used this absence of events this year as an opportunity to reset and reassess the support we are providing our taekwondo family. Our athletes continued to inspire and bring us joy with their home workouts and social media campaigns. They reminded the world that no matter the restrictions in place nothing could stop people from keeping active and practising taekwondo.


Using videoconferencing technology we hosted several Council meetings, more than 90 Committee calls, and around 70 education courses for coaches, referees, educators and technical delegates. These virtual meetings allowed us to enhance our efficiency and minimise costs and have showcased a new way of working which we will maintain after the pandemic is over.


We held our first ever virtual Council meeting in May 2020, which was supposed to be hosted in the Olympic House in Lausanne at the invitation of the IOC President Thomas Bach. The IOC President praised World Taekwondo for our “impressive track-record of modernising [our] sport and important humanitarian work.” We stand in solidarity with the IOC in emerging stronger together for the post-pandemic world.


World Taekwondo also organised its first-ever virtual General Assembly which was attended by a total of 137 MNAs and 29 Council members; making it our largest-ever non-elective General Assembly. Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti, joined the General Assembly and praised World Taekwondo for the huge improvement it has made in good governance and how it serves as a role model for other International Federations of its size.


In the spirit of keeping active and providing equal access to sport, online poomsae events were organised in many countries. World Taekwondo hosted its first-ever Online World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in November which was open to families and saw more than 1,565 registrations from 98 countries. We also saw refugees participating from their camps which was a true inspiration. Following the success of these online events we will be introducing seasonal Online World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships – one for each season, as part of our initiatives to promote physical activity to the grassroots and contribute to a healthy society.


Our commitment to promoting gender equality continued as we hosted the 1st World Taekwondo Gender Equity and Women Leadership Forum in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee. Among the notable speakers, including athletes and Council Members, was the IOC President who praised the initiative and provided his support.


In 2020, we even launched a partnership with one of the world’s most popular children’s TV show – PJ Masks – as we continue to identify innovative ways of promoting our sport to young people around the world. I believe that this partnership is especially important, as the ongoing pandemic has kept children and young people from being able to engage in physical activity in many countries.


I am also happy to announce that taekwondo has been included in the sports programme of the European Games to be held in Kraków-Małopolska in 2023. This is a fantastic achievement!


It is because of all our collective efforts and great work in 2020 that we enter 2021 with the strong belief that this will be the start of another successful decade for World Taekwondo.


We have so much to look forward to!


We cannot look past the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are so excited to see our Olympians compete again and of course, watch our Paralympians make history as Para Taekwondo is included at a Paralympic Games for the first time. This will be a very special moment for us all. We would like to thank the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for their continued leadership in preparing for safe Games.


But 2021 will also mark the return of our beloved World Taekwondo events, as well as some exciting new ones. In October we will host the World Taekwondo Championships in Wuxi, China, which we hope will see more participating countries than ever before. Before the Championships, the Peace and Sport Forum will also be held in Wuxi.


We are planning the 1st World Taekwondo Open Women’s Taekwondo Championship in Saudi Arabia, as well as a number of online events such as the seasonal World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships, and the World Taekwondo Super Talent Show. Plus we are creating the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Challenge which we hope to organise before the Tokyo Olympic Games, in Taekwondowon in Muju. We will also organise the 2nd World Taekwondo Gender Equity and Women Leadership Forum in March.


We hope that these digital innovations and expanding portfolio of meaningful events will expand taekwondo’s global outreach and move us closer to realising our full potential.


Ultimately, my vision for World Taekwondo is to be one of the most sustainable and respected International Federations. We will achieve this by contributing not only to the development of taekwondo worldwide and protecting the interests of our stakeholders especially our athletes; but also by being a leader in contributing to humankind and the Sustainable Development Goals.


After all, this year will be the 48th anniversary of our federation’s founding and in two years’ time in 2023, we will celebrate 50 years of World Taekwondo – our Golden Jubilee.


We want to ensure we are continually evolving and adapting for the benefit of our sport and we will present our Sustainability Strategy for 2021 to 2030 to the General Assembly. This strategy will put sustainability at the heart of World Taekwondo and bring far-reaching benefits to our whole family.


We are also working towards our ambition of becoming one of the best governed International Federations and have committed to working with all our stakeholders, including Continental Unions and Member National Associations, to ensure good governance at every level of our sport.


So dear friends, we have much to be proud of but we also have much to do. As ever, we know we are strongest together and that it is only through teamwork and collective effort that we will reach our goals. Thanks to all your hardwork I have every confidence we can, and will, achieve great things in 2021.


Yours in taekwondo,


Sincerely yours,


Chungwon Choue