World Taekwondo’s close link with refugees and humanitarian aid
JM González
June 28, 2024

Since 2001, World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly, is commemorated every June 20. In this framework, sport has also been involved in various ways in the commemoration of this anniversary. In fact, this year World Taekwondo again had an active participation in which they reinforced their humanitarian commitment to empower refugees through their sport.

There are various activities and actions in which World Taekwondo, the governing body of this martial art worldwide, has been involved. Among them is the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF), where they seek to “teach Olympic values ​​(to refugees) and allow them to pursue their dreams,” the organization published.

Through THF, World Taekwondo has been present in several instances, leading humanitarian activities with refugees. “At the last meeting of the Olympic Refuge Foundation Board of Directors in April, I heard that the global population of refugees and displaced people could reach 130 million by the end of this year. It is a shocking and sad figure,” explained Dr. Chungwon Choue, President of World Taekwondo and Founder and President of THF.

The actions of the THF have even been recognized by the International Olympic Committee, who in 2023 awarded the foundation the Olympic Cup, that is, the highest distinction awarded by the IOC to organizations that promote the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

Dr. Chungwon Choue at the 2nd Hope and Dreams Sports Festival

“World Taekwondo, through its foundation, shares our belief in sport as a force for good in the world. The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation brings this power of sport to those who need it most: refugees around the world. world and, in particular, children and young people, empowering and educating them through taekwondo,” said Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, on that occasion.

Taekwondo with refugees, however, is not something recent. In fact, World Taekwondo cooperates closely with the Refugee Olympic Team of the International Olympic Committee. In Tokyo 2020 there were three representatives of this team competing in taekwondo, while in Paris 2024 there will be five.

Yahya Al Ghotany is one of them, who began practicing taekwondo after fleeing Syria and who precisely learned about the sport thanks to the THF. The other participants are Farzad Mansouri who left Afghanistan, and the Iranians Kasra Mehdipournejad, Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi and Hadi Tiranvalipour.

“Working in collaboration with our partners, World Taekwondo and THF we will continue to play our role in supporting refugees and displaced people through sport,” concluded Dr. Choue.

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