Dibos has been an IOC Member (International Olympic Committee) for many years. He began as an athlete on cycling, swimming, racing and rowing. On this last one, he was a member of WTF Council. He got retired on rowing at the age of 65 due to the limit of age. On the other hand, he was able to continue his career for the IOC for Taekwondo; they do not have a limit of age. And now at the age of 72 he is looking forward to continue giving his best to this sport.
When he refers to Taekwondo he states that he cannot determine whether a technical action is correct or not. But can apply all the knowledge he has learned throughout the years as a sports administrator, a teacher and an athlete. And provide his best to Taekwondo.
First of all, thank you for taking your time for this interview, for masTaekwondo.com is very important that the Vice-president of the WTF shares a little of his time for this interview. My first question is, how do you see Taekwondo as a Sport Organization?
I think it is going in a good way, the role Dr. Choue is doing as a president is very good. He is a very respectful person, who is fully dedicated into this. He doesn´t need to do it for an economical reason. You don´t get too much money on this if it´s done decently and he surely does it this way. He has supported this sport on time and money. I think that a sports leader is someone who provides all the necessary time to it however, sometimes it requires more than this to all the things you want to do.
As an IOC member, do you think the status of Taekwondo to remain as an Olympic Sport is in danger?
This is a fear that every Sport Federation confronts to. People have made mistakes in Taekwondo. We know that Korean people can be impatient and sometimes they can make aggressive and impulsive decisions. However, we have decided among Dr. Choue to make an analysis and a brainstorm of ideas to erase the wrong image to the IOC members. For example, we opened an office at Lausana, Switzerland, we have more contact with the IOC Members and the usages of the Video Replay are changes that have been made. This last one has helped out the judges results. So now we have applied the Video Replay, the coacher’s red and blue cards and the electric protector and scoring system.
Perfect, this takes me to my next question, which is about the electric protector and scoring system. If I´m not wrong you are the president of the Ad-hoc Committee for electric protectors. Are you in charge of controlling theses systems?
Correct, I am in charge of the Protector and Scoring System which stands for PSS. The reason I suggested this name to Dr. Choue was because it is a competitor protector and a score system like the one in fencing, he liked it and so we named it like this.
I think that the PSS and the Video Replay changed the sense in Taekwondo, even if we had only applied the Video Replay. We have two approved brands and a third on the way for approval. We thought at the beginning to give everything to just one brand, but then I thought: “monopoly is never a good idea.” The only way to reduce costs for the competitors is to have 2, 3 or 4 approved brands.
Some people state that they really don´t know about the complications and the complexities of the different situations. However, we wonder if it would be better to homologate a system for the PSS and that the brands adjust to it, to avoid the differences between brands. Do you think this could be possible?
It is complicated because each one has their own technology and each one thinks theirs is the best. What we do is that we give them the general lineaments, such as, a score sensor, which indicates a determine score according to the intensity of the hit.
For instance, I´ve seen it in Daedo and in Lajust they have sensors. For example KP&P has some kind of shields and indeed they are different, however they are really good. So we try not to generate some kind of limitation, because they all have different ideas and technology to get more prepared. And that is why we just give them general alignments and then we evaluate and test them.
Also the WTF has to have its own resources, so it would be great for the future championships to have three or four brands offering any kind of resource, like equipment, some investment to the WTF… So then we would evaluate the one that pays more. We will do some kind of bidding.
It has not been an easy road; there are a lot of things we need to take care of, like the batteries, socks, etc. Lajust was used on the World Championship; unfortunately, they had really serious issues in Korea. However, they said that they´ve been fixed already.
Did the WTF recommend this to the Olympic Games Organization?
There was a contract for LaJust it was going to be the system to be used in London. The contract was already made when I got the position as president of the PSS Commission. I didn´t think it was necessary to make any tests. I think the negotiation was not properly done. However, I think throughout the years and since we started to work for the Azerbaijan World Cup, we´ve had many improvements.
Going back to the possibility of being left out of the Olympic Games… Do you really think that every Sport has a chance to be left out?
Of course, the risk is not only for Taekwondo, there has been anabolic steroid usage in weight, a lot of performance drugs. Boxing and Weights have run the risk of being left out for this reason. Every Sport runs the same risk nothing is for sure.
I remember cases of performance drugs with the Weight Bulgarian team in a World competition in Venezuela. When they realized there were some machines to detect different type of drugs, they just left and didn´t compete. Also in the artistic ice skating we knew about a judge that received money to help out some competitors.
So this is something that definitely can happen and Taekwondo has to clean its name to demonstrate that decisions made are correct, the usage of the Video Replay has supported this.
During the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 the Cuban athlete, Ángel Valodia Matos, hit the Swedish central arbitrate Chakir Chelbat in the face. A lot of rumors stated at that time that this could affect Taekwondo to stay in the Olympics. Is this true?
I recently wanted to help out this Cuban, because he has been an Olympic championship, and the way he reacted left him out for life. I´ve been a high range athlete, and we are all exposed to situations like this. So I think in this case we have to go deep and know the reasons. People like him go under so much stress and probably this was a reaction for something that someone did to him.
I really went deep into this, and somebody told me that his coach doesn´t understand English and that he was given an instruction that he didn´t understand. So he didn´t know what he was told and he got so angry that he hit the arbitrate. I think that there should be some amnesty in these cases. I also think that he should be forgiven for what he did.
Do you think that we are going to stay for a long time in the Olympics?
I think that the incorporation of the Video Replay has been a plus for Taekwondo. Though, we still need to keep on improving things to make this sport grow and grow. It is not easy to be considered in the Olympics. Somebody told me that in the Sports Accords there were a lot of Sports Federations that we don´t even know. They all aspirate to be part of the Olympic Games, however to be part of it, for example, the sport has to be popular in the five continents and it has to be federated in more than 150 countries…to name some. So is not easy to achieve it.
I have huge expectations regarding Taekwondo. I see that it gathers a lot of participants from different countries. It has a lot of categories so it makes it a Sport that incorporates many people.
We spoke and fought for Taekwondo to be an Olympic Sport, but there are many leaders, coachers and athletes that are not fully aware about the Olympic alignments. Do you agree on this?
On Perú we have an Olympic academy settled in 1982. And each year we send two or three Athletes to the Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece to take a course, so then they can train others.
There are National Olympic Committees (NOC) that don´t have a National Olympic Academy, so this makes athletes to assist to an Olympic Game without knowing what is it about or they don´t even know about Pierre de Coubertin.
So after the Syngapur Olympic Games it is mandatory for the athletes and coachers to assist to all the Olympic courses.
Coubertin didn´t believe in boundaries between people, race or religion, everybody is friend and brother or sister. And certainly is very bad to see an athlete that competes and doesn´t know about the Olympic philosophy.
There are some countries that send small amounts of athletes. From Perú we send groups of 20 or 30 athletes to train. On the other hand countries like USA have groups of 700, however, they have professionals that don´t care so much about the Olympic Philosophy and they are just seeking for quantities of money and number of medals.
And finally, what is your opinion regarding the implementation of the Olympic Philosophy throughout the WTF and the National Federations?
I wish this could be done easily, however, there are federations that aren´t so well in some aspects and I think globalizing some things could be helpful. Koreans know so much about Taekwondo. But it is really rare to find a Korean president leading a federation for another country. It´s hard to have many passports and use them according to each situation, this has been changed in the WTF Statutes. I´ve suggested to the WTF to assign more Koreans to lead other federations. There are many Koreans leading federations from other countries. As long as we improve more National Federations then more things could be achieved, such as the Olympic Philosophy.
Mr. Divos. I´m very thankful for the time you provided on this interview. Thank you very much.
Translation: Silvana Ramírez Cuevas
Original Note (Spanish): Iván Dibos: “…en esto no se gana plata si es que uno lo hace con decencia…”
Claudio Aranda. Exclusivo masTaekwondo.com