IOC President Bach encourages IOC Session to support refugees and praises Taekwondo’s “leading role”

Captured image from IOC YouTube Channel


(Oct 17, 2023) - IOC President Thomas Bach today delivered an impassioned speech to the 141st IOC Session on the global refugee crisis and the positive role sport can play in inspiring hope in refugee communities around the world, reserving special praise for the work Taekwondo has done in this area.


President Bach, speaking after the report of the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), of which World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue is a member, expressed his concern for the "unfortunate and ever-growing crisis in our world". He emphasized that behind the statistics are individual human lives which should not be forgotten. Sport can help them to have a better life, to have a healthier lifestyle and to have hope.


“You saw with Taekwondo they’re playing a leading role in all these efforts from the very beginning. We can only invite the other International Federations to join hands and to help these people because they need sport and this is what our friends and colleagues at the UNHCR are always telling us. The High Commissioner asks refugees ‘what do you need most after food, shelter and medical care?’ The first answer he always gets is sport.


“We also have a responsibility there. We have a responsibility because we can see our values are inspiring people; are playing a role in the lives. We can not only talk about the values and inspire those who have a normal life. If we really want to show and to walk the talk of the promotion of our values then we have in particular to go there where it’s most needed in these refugee camps and communities of displaced people. So please help wherever you can and support our colleagues in the Olympic Refuge Foundation.”


During the report of the ORF, a video was shown of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) Taekwondo Center in the Azraq Refugee camp in Jordan. The video focused on Taekwondo Refugee athlete and Olympic Refugee Scholarship Holder Wael Fawaz Al-Farraj. The video showed Wael training at the center and him speaking about his dreams.


“My biggest dream is to become an Olympic champion and get a gold medal,” he said. “I also dream that my family will live comfortably and for my circumstances to be better as I would like them to be.


“Many refugees will be proud of me and that will motivate lots of young people and show that hope is constant and the dream must go on. The Paris Olympics are my dream and I will keep trying until I make it there.”





Captured images from IOC YouTube Channel