When Taekwondo Was Also a Victim of Terrorism

After a few days of the attacks in the Boston Marathon, we have remembered that Taekwondo has not been free of tragedy.

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The explosion of two bombs last Monday during the marathon in Boston (Massachusetts), that killed three people and injured more than 150 (See Note: Boston Marathon bomb blasts kill 3, injure at least 140), has been the last bombings during a celebration of sporting events.


These terrorist attacks generate such pain, confusion and fear such as it happened on Monday April 15 in Boston, which reminds us of the many times that the sport has been victim of such reprehensible maneuvers (See Note: 10 sporting events marred by terrorism). Among these unfortunate stories there is also one for our sport that is worth mentioning to keep the memory alive of those young men who died in the hands of extremist madness.


Young athletes with Olympic dreams, as any others we see in any training camp, sweating, sacrificing to achieve a medal someday, whether regional, national or Olympic. So were the 13 young athletes members of an Iraq Taekwondo club traveling to its neighbor country Jordan in May 2006. Suddenly, their convoy was stopped by strangers and were kidnapped on the road between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province. No one heard from the young athletes nor from the members of the delegation. No one saw them alive again.


Finally after a year in 2007, Members of Anban Salvation Council, found only remains of the bodies of the athletes.

According to press reports at the time, there were nothing but bones and skulls entangled in tattered sports uniforms. They were taken to the Imam Ali Hospital in Baghdad for DNA testing to try to identify the bodies.

“His dream was to represent his country in Taekwondo, but instead, he was murdered,” said Ali Kanoun, cousin of one of the victims, Rasoul Salah.


At that time Dr. Chungwon Choue (WTF President) said that the World Taekwondo Federation strongly condemned the kidnapping of athletes and any act of international terrorism as a threat to international peace, security to the Olympic Movement and the Sport Taekwondo development. “Such acts should not be tolerated for any reason.”


“Together with the World Taekwondo family, I pray that the new Iraqi Taekwondo Federation overcomes adversity for the eternal propagation of the Olympic Movement in Iraq,” said Dr. Choue. “The WTF will continue to fight all forms of human rights violations and the Olympic Movement for theTaekwondo Sport“. (See Note in Spanish: Condolencias por las víctimas de Irak) The WTF leader had expressed his admiration for the Iraqi Taekwondo Federation, who despite of such difficulties, sent competitors to the 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Championships Beijing “Such courage is truly inspiring and necessary in adversity “.


The senselessness of violence has tragically impacted the sport several times in history.

Today masTaekwondo.com expresses solidarity with the victims of this tragedy in one of the most legendary sporting events such as athletics Boston Marathon.



Beatriz Rodríguez, Exclusive masTaekwondo.com

Translation: Silvana Ramírez Cuevas



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