The 4th World Youth Taekwondo Camp wrapped up its six-day event in a resounding success in Seoul, Korea on June 24, 2012.
The annual event, jointly organized by the World Taekwondo Federation and the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, attracted a total of 210 young taekwondo practitioners from 33 countries.
The camp, which opened in Muju, Korea on July 19, was held days before the opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The purpose of the camp is to provide high-level taekwondo training and education on the Olympic values to the youth from all over the world attending the camp.
Among the participants was U.S. para-taekwondo athlete Sheila Radziewicz, a female black-belt holder, who was invited to the camp as a special lecturer. “I am happy to be part of this camp and I am honored to be invited as a special lecturer,” Radziewicz said. The 34-year-old, who lives in Massachusetts, the United States, was born without arms and knee cartilage. She took up taekwondo in 2001 and four years ago she earned a black belt to become the first female para-taekwondo practitioner in taekwondo history to earn it solely by kicking.
Also attending was Vietnamese national taekwondo coach Ms. Tran Hieu Ngan, the silver medalist in the female -57kg division at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, who became the first Vietnamese Olympic medal winner.
New Caledonia and Seychelles, two of the WTF’s newest member countries, dispatched young taekwondo practitioners to the camp. Two Thai youths from the Thai Free Orphanage Taekwondo Training Program were also given the opportunity to participate in the annual camp.
During the opening and closing ceremonies of the camp, all participants read the Creed of Taekwondo Practitioners, which reads: “I will keep both my body and mind strong and lead a righteous life. I will serve my parents and love my family. I will respect the people including my teachers and elders and be faithful to my friends. I will help my neighbors, serving my community and country. I will live in harmony with nature and contribute to the peace and prosperity of mankind.”
“Our goal for this year, and every year, is to spread hope and dreams to the youth of the world. The youth that are the future of our sport and the champions and Olympians of tomorrow are waiting for their chance,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue. “You can help spread these hope and dreams by sharing the values of sportsmanship and the spirit of Olympism here with your campmates and when you return home.”
Mr. Jhong-shin Bae, chairman of the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, said, “I would like to welcome all of you to Muju, where Taekwondowon, the hub and training complex of taekwondo, is under construction.” “At this Youth Camp, you will be able to upgrade your taekwondo skills at the birthplace of taekwondo, and learn from the experiences of Olympic medalists and senior taekwondo figures who have made great achievements in the field of taekwondo.”
Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said in his congratulatory message for the camp, “You will have the opportunity to learn more about the Olympic values through the Olympic Values Education Program, discover other cultures, and build friendships with young people from other countries.” “By taking part in this camp, you will be well equipped to live a healthy and sporting life, and be able to contribute to improving your communities, country and the world.”
Mr. Dae-soon Lee, vice president of the WTF, addressed his welcoming message on behalf of WTF President Choue.
During the camp, participants received special lectures on the Olympic Values Education Program and the WTF Competition Rules and Anti-doping education, as well as having the first-hand stories of Olympic medalists. They also visited the Taekwondowon in Muju and the Kukkiwon in Seoul, and had various camp activities, including a folk costume and talent show competition, and a poomsae demonstration and breaking event at the Peace Plaza in the Olympic Park in Seoul, Korea.
Seok Jae Kang