Dear Taekwondo Family,
Today, we celebrate the 47th founding anniversary of World Taekwondo.
As we look back with pride on our history and achievements, our thoughts remain with the current global situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time. The world as we know it has changed dramatically.
Humanity as a whole has suffered, and so to everyone who has lost a loved one I offer you my sincere condolences. To those who are currently suffering with the virus I offer my hope that you will find the strength to recover fully.
When dealing with these changes in our lives it often seems that we can see only darkness, but there are real reasons to stay positive and to believe that there is a light at the end of this period. Medical experts advise that there are signs of real progress in this struggle. It is not over, but we remain hopeful and determined.
At these times sport can seem unimportant, but truly it is a source of great hope and strength. We at World Taekwondo would like to thank the dedication and sacrifice of the medical personnel and volunteers on the frontlines around the world. They have selflessly risked their own lives to help save others. They are the real heroes who demonstrate, day in and day out, the spirit and the perseverance that we cherish in Taekwondo.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be postponed to the Summer of 2021. This is an unprecedented decision, but it is also the right one. World Taekwondo fully supports the IOC’s decision to protect the health, safety and well-being of the athletes and coaches and all stakeholders involved in the Games.
To all of our athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics, first of all congratulations but equally I cannot imagine the anguish and disappointment you felt when you first heard the news. The Games are postponed and you have done extremely well to deal with this obstacle but the Road to Tokyo starts again. Now more than ever, you must pick yourselves up and look ahead.
To our athletes in Asia and Europe, we hope that you will have your chance to qualify this year. We are constantly monitoring the global situation to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing and also to ensure fair play. In the meantime, I wish you the very best for your training – in whatever safe form you can manage as directed by your coaches and the best available government advice.
To our refugee athletes under the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, your pathway to Tokyo remains the same. Like every one else, you have a fair chance to achieve your Olympic dream. A dream that will be delivered as we all make our biggest effort to stay home and to stay safe until the global advice changes.
To our referees especially those who are in the selection process for Tokyo, we salute your continued dedication to perfecting your craft. It is important to stay safe and healthy, and also to improve yourselves and be ready to deliver the fairest Taekwondo competitions once again.
At this time we would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the Japanese government and to the hard working Tokyo Olympic Organisers for their continued dedication. We are encouraged by your daily efforts to deliver the Games safely and we salute your hard work.
Ultimately, the biggest challenge ahead of us is to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one challenge where we truly need to be united as One World.
So I urge you, the global Taekwondo Family to listen to the health authorities. It is complex and challenging but please stay safe and stay home – and stay positive.
My dear friends and colleagues, I look forward to the day when we can see each other once again, both on and off the mat, when we can celebrate our sport and our friendship.
Dr. Chungwon Choue