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Taekwondo’s Destiny to Be Decided July 8

Posted July. 05, 2005 02:28,   


Starting July 5, a conference that will affect the very existence of Korean sports will be held in Singapore and last for four days.

It’s because at the 117th general meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 5 in Singapore, the IOC is scheduled to vote on a number of issues, including the selection of a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games on July 6, a vote on dismissing IOC members involved in a bribery scandal on July 7, and a vote on the exclusion of 28 Olympic events on July 8.

All of Korea’s attention is fixed on the last day as Taekwondo, a national sport, is scheduled to be voted on. The selection of a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is expected to play a critical role in the election hopes of Pyeongchang, which is bidding to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Taekwondo’s Prospects-

World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) president Choue Chung-won said, “At present, Taekwondo is in neither an optimistic nor pessimistic situation,” and left Korea saying, “Do your best and God will do the rest” on July 1.

In fact, it was a commonly held view that Taekwondo, which was an official event for three consecutive Olympic Games from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was relatively safe until a few months ago.

However, with the impending vote, the theory of careful movement is prevalent. Last month, the IOC pointed out in its evaluation report that Taekwondo has a low chance of getting attention in the media with low TV ratings, low popularity, and a problem in fairness of judgment.

Every public opinion poll on possible events for exclusion conducted worldwide contained Taekwondo.

Karate’s aggressive lobbying is also an eyesore. The voluntary resignation from the vice-president post of Kim Un-yong, who was released on parole on June 30, developed as a three-party deal between Cheong Wa Dae, and IOC president Jacques Rogge, which deteriorated public opinion in international sports circles.

However, Taekwondo drew a positive evaluation from the IOC by submitting a blueprint to improve the above three problems in a report from its reform committee, and is putting its hope not on an individual’s ability, but on its omni directional sports diplomacy that it displayed “post Kim Un-yong.”

The Vote for Exclusion-

If a majority of 59 votes is achieved in secret electronic voting out of a total of 116 IOC members, Taekwondo will be selected as an official event of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The result only decides pros and cons, and the polling process is not open to the public in principle.

In addition to Taekwondo, Korea also should pay close attention whether or not archery, Korea’s main source of gold medals, and baseball will be excluded from event categories.

Candidate events to be included into the Olympic Games are golf, rugby, squash, karate, and roller sports.

Selection of Venue for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games-

With Paris ahead of the other cities, London, New York, Madrid, and Moscow are also candidates to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

For Pyeongchang, it would be more favorable if a European city was selected.

A strong competitor of Pyeongchang is Salzburg of Austria, and it is highly likely that votes will flow to Pyeongchang in accordance with the unwritten law of letting each continent (Europe, America, Asia) hold the Olympic Games in turn if a European city is selected to host the 2012 summer games.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com