A few days ago, when Taekwondo was still doubtful for the 2020 Olympic Games, WTF Secretary General, Jean-Marie Ayer, gave us an interview, (See: Interview with Jean-Marie Ayer, Secretary General WTF). Therefore, after learning the great news that Taekwondo is one of the 25 sports that will continue in the Olympics, we wanted to talk to him. Following is what he said:
Mr. Ayer, we are pleased to talk to you again. Thanks for your time, but first of all, we want to congratulate you on behalf of the entire masTaekwondo.com team. You and all WTF have done a tremendous work to achieve this success. How do you feel after such a decision?
Well, I think you can imagine how it feels, I feel great, I’m very happy about this decision, we have worked hard for this and then you get the desired result, you feel very happy to have achieved it. This was based on hard work and effort; it gives you a lot of energy to continue working hard.
Now, that we know that taekwondo will be in the 2020 Olympics, we must continue in this path, working hard.
Tell us, how was the atmosphere in Switzerland before and during the meeting?
Of course, before the meeting, we were very anxious and nervous, and I think, the representatives of other sports were nervous, too. But we were always thinking positively because we have been working for this for a long time. After being devoted to this issue for months, we were very anxious of the outcome of this meeting, and well, we are very happy for the positive result. All the taekwondo family that was together waiting for the meeting here in Switzerland had a big party to celebrate. We are really excited.
Mr. Ayer, what aspects must be improved for Rio 2016?
Sure, there are things to improve, we want to Rio 2016 even more successful than London. We have great expectations for Rio. When evaluating Rio 2016, we surely want better results than those already obtained in London. We have had meetings these past days, speaking precisely of this issue. We already have a plan; we have groups already working in specific areas; we are waiting for proposals and suggestions on how to do an even better job for the coming four years. We have defined our objectives for the next Olympics, so I think Rio will definitely be a step up for us.
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What then is the next step for the WTF? Is there any concrete project?
Well, yes, as I mentioned, our plan for the next four years is to increase the popularity of taekwondo, promote its diffusion through newspapers, television and other means. Our most important initiative would the Grand Prix Series. We have been discussing this week about the design of the Grand Prix, all matters relating to the sports area was thoroughly discussed, and we have already decided on the format for this competition. If all goes well, we plan to make the first Grand Prix later this year, we are confident that this event will contribute to improve the athletes´ ranking. And if it is accepted by our members, we will use the ranking to classify to the Olympics. We could say that the ranking would replace the World Qualification Tournaments.
There is something that caught our attention. On the occasion of the General Assembly in Buenos Aires, the WTF approved the Argentina Open. This is something has never happened before in America. What is the purpose?
Well, we are sure we are following right path, since we have the next Olympic Games in South America, we want to use this opportunity to have more events in South America.
Taekwondo is very important in America, so we want to work on this to increase the number of events to promote the sport in the Pan American region. So this is only the beginning because this will not be the only competition; our goal is to have more opportunities like this in the region.
Would you like to give a message to the Taekwondo family that follows us through masTaekwondo.com?
Sure, we expect all Taekwondo family share this joy and satisfaction with us and enjoy this important success in our sport. February 12, 2013 will be marked in the history of Taekwondo, so we want to share it with all our friends around the world, and we hope that we will receive everyone’s support to continue working the way we have done it.
Thank you very much for time, Mr. Ayer and again, congratulations!
I want to thank masTaekwondo.com, for covering the events and information and inform all Taekwondo community.
Alex Korram, Exclusive masTaekwondo.com