The 1st online Taekwondo championships were organized by the GCS International Portland, USA Chapter and the U.S. World Class Taekwondo Association. The event was hosted by GCS International, and supported by MasTKD and other Taekwondo bodies.
The 4-day virtual taekwondo event drew 302 athletes from 20 countries. Among the athletes were 10 refugees at the WT-THF Humanitarian Taekwondo Center at the Azraq refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, and nine taekwondo students from Nepal, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, who are and were taekwondo students under the WT-ADF Taekwondo Cares Program.
The 20 participating countries were Aruba, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jordan (Humanitarian Taekwondo Center), Korea (GCS Global Taekwondo Peace Corps members), Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United States.
As the host of the COVID-19 GCS Virtual International Taekwondo Championships, the GCS Portland, USA Chapter offered a sponsorship of a maximum of 10 less privileged athletes to each of the 44 GCS chapters, as well as the Humanitarian Taekwondo Center, run by the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation and World Taekwondo, and the three countries of Nepal, Cambodia and Sri Lanka under the WT-ADF Cares Program.
Given time difference and unstable internet connection, the organizers received pre-recorded videos of poomsae athletes of Azraq refugees and WT Cares Program taekwondo students from Nepal, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
“A portion of the proceeds from this virtual tournament will be allocated to GCS International to provide funding resources for victims who are suffering as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Selma Li, president of the GCS Portland, USA Chapter.
Seven WT international referees volunteered to judge this event and all the competitions were live broadcast on YouTube through MasTKD (www.MasTKD.com) and competition results were live updated on MasTKD.com.
The virtual championships featured individual poomsae, individual freestyle poomsae, pairs poomsae, team poomsae, and weapon form. Among divisions, which catching our eyes were the Para P-20 – senior female, cadet, junior categories.
“As president of both World Taekwondo and GCS International, I appreciate Dr. Selma for organizing this 1st COVID-19 Virtual Taekwondo Championships. In these COVID-19 pandemic times, most countries are under lockdown situation and taekwondo practitioners are under home training,” said Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of World Taekwondo and GCS International.
“My special appreciation goes to the refugee taekwondo students at the Jordan Humanitarian Taekwondo Center and taekwondo students of the WT Cares Program in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, who participated in this virtual championship,” Dr. Choue said. “I want to see more virtual taekwondo events, which will give hope and dreams to children in need of global support.”
Dr. Choue said, “In these difficult COVID-19 times, we all have to further promote the three GCS spirits of goodwill, cooperation and service-dedication. Taekwondo can be an effective tool to help promote world peace. Peace is More Precious than Triumph.”
GCS International was established in 1979 by Dr. Choue’s late father, Dr. Young Seek Choue, founder of Kyung Hee University. The U.N.-affiliated NGO has three spirits of goodwill, cooperation and service-dedication. The GCS founder proposed the U.N. International Day and Year of Peace in 1981.