The World Taekwondo Conference was split across three key themes: sport for social development; safe sport; and integrity and compliance. Experts specialising in each of these three areas delivered presentations before panel discussions were held to give the audience the opportunity to ask questions and provide their own insights. World Taekwondo has hosted academic Symposiums before but this was the first time a Conference was held in this format. The Conference is the latest example of World Taekwondo’s commitment to disseminating international best practice to its National Federations and taking a leading role in tackling major issues.
Speaking after the Conference, President Choue said:
“World Taekwondo is committed to constantly learning from international best-practice to ensure that we implement robust measures which will safeguard our athletes and ensure the integrity of our competitions. In addition, we are dedicated to realising the potential of taekwondo to make a social impact beyond sport competitions and provide hope to millions around the world.
“Today’s Conference was the first of its kind organised by World Taekwondo and has been very helpful in providing different perspectives and expertise which will allow us to move forward in achieving these goals. Not only do we want to lead from the front as the International Federation, but we also want to equip our National Federations with the knowledge and tools to be able to implement policies at a national level.”
World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue delivered the keynote address at the Conference and spoke of the work that has been done through the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and its demonstrations with the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) to empower the powerless and promote peace through sport. Giovanni di Cola, Chair of WT Sustainability Committees; Claude Marshall, UNHCR Assistant Refugee Sport Coordinator; Russell Ahn, Taekwondo Technical Committee Chair at the International Federation of University Sport; and Patrice Cholley, Senior Sport for Development Program Manager at the IOC, each spoke on different matters regarding social development for sport.
World Taekwondo Secretary General Hoss Rafaty introduced the theme of safe sport in the afternoon. Susan Greinig and Kirsty Burrows, IOC Consultants on Athlete Safeguarding and Gender Equality, presented on the importance of putting in place policies to safeguard athletes while Sarah Broadhead, Psychologist at GB Taekwondo and Natalie Vickers, Performance Lifestyle Advisor to GB Taekwondo spoke of the importance of addressing mental health.
The Conference closed with presentations from Evangelos Alexandrakis, Deputy Secretary General at Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), and Benjamin Cohen, Director General at the International Testing Agency (ITA), who spoke on integrity and compliance.
The Conference took places ahead of the Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships which gets underway on 15 May.