Around the Organization

A new year message from World Taekwondo President for 2024


Beloved World Taekwondo Family,


In 2023 when we celebrated the Golden Jubilee of World Taekwondo, we reminisced the great strides that we have taken collectively over the past 50 years since our founding and laid the foundations for the future – a future filled with hopes and dreams.


Indeed, 2023 was a momentous year of historic achievements. World Taekwondo expanded to 213 member nations and territories across the globe with the membership of Namibia, making our organisation the fourth largest International Federation of the Olympic Movement. Our journey from 17 Member National Associations in 1973 to 213 in 2023 has been remarkable and it is all thanks to the selfless contributions of you, our beloved World Taekwondo Family.


I wish to thank every MNA for commemorating our 50th Founding Anniversary through events and activities in your respective countries. My special appreciation goes to the cities that hosted the World Taekwondo promoted and recognised events in 2023, especially to Baku for hosting the World Taekwondo Championships and the Golden Jubilee Gala, where we recognised the best male and feme athletes of each Olympic and Paralympic Games; to Sarajevo as first-time host of the World Taekwondo Cadet Championships; and to Veracruz’s hosting of the World Taekwondo Para Taekwondo Championships.


World Taekwondo also forayed into a new frontier with Virtual Taekwondo, as our latest innovation was recognised by the IOC and included in the inaugural Olympic Esports Games in Singapore. We also created new World Taekwondo-promoted events with the the first Grand Prix Challenge for emerging athletes outside of Korea in Dakar, as well as the inaugural editions of the Octagon Diamond Game, Demonstration Championships and Para Taekwondo Open Challenge in Chuncheon.


It is not just about expansion but also about excellence. Together with the IOC President Thomas Bach and great friends of Taekwondo, World Taekwondo installed a statue at the Olympic Museum. It is a statue that befits our sport – a symbol of Hopes and Dreams that aspires Olympism and Peace.


At World Taekwondo, we inspire hopes and dreams through our humanitarian and social development activities. Our commitment to an inclusive world through sport for refugees and displaced persons led to the creation of the inaugural Hope and Dreams Sports Festival. The 2023 Sports Festival was a meaningful endeavour with baseball and softball, and I believe that its success will serve as a platform for collaborations with more sports in the 2024 edition.


For our humanitarian efforts, World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation received two prestigious awards in 2023. First, the IOC President awarded the Olympic Cup, the highest distinction for any organisation that promotes the ideals of the Olympic Movement. Second, the Hope and Dreams Sports Festival was recognised as the Combat Sport Initiative of the Year at the Peace and Sports Award.


In 2023, we welcomed our 100th black belt in our flagship humanitarian sports centre in the Azraq Refugee Camp. The IOC also recognised 12 refugee athletes for the Olympic Solidarity Programme for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – the second largest sport in the programme. In addition, two of our refugee athletes were featured in a deeply moving documentary, “We Dare to Dream” about their journey to participate in the Olympic Games. I hope that their determination to succeed will inspire their fellow refugee athletes in their Road to Paris 2024.


Just as importantly, World Taekwondo launched its Sustainability Strategy focusing on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) & Community; Health and Well-being; and Environmental Sustainability. Our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Olympic Agendas make World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation a truly responsible governing body of Olympism and humanism.


From commemorating 50 years of founding, we look forward to celebrating 30 years of recognition as an Olympic Sport – a historic decision of the 103rd IOC Session in Paris on September 4, 1994. Coincidentally, the upcoming Olympic Games will also be in Paris on August 7-10 and the Paralympic Games on August 29-31, where Taekwondo will be held in the beautiful Grand Palaise des Champs-Élysées. An iconic sport in an iconic venue.


Five world-class continental qualification tournaments in Dakar, Sofia, Tai’an, Honiara, and Santo Domingo will offer pathways to Olympic and Paralympic glories for the best Taekwondo athletes. I wish to thank the host cities and wish all athletes good luck in your Road to Paris 2024. This includes the second-ever group of refugee athletes for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.


Leading up to the Olympic Games, World Taekwondo will organise yet another joint training camp in Muju in May, which over the past editions have helped coaches and referees develop genuine unity and respect for each other. There will also be a training camp for the selected referees of Paris 2024 in Monaco in June to ensure the fairest competitions at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


We look forward to the World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Chuncheon in October, the inaugural World Taekwondo Virtual Championships in Singapore in November, and the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Hong Kong, also in November.


Finally, the 2024 Hope and Dreams Sports Festival in late April will be expanded to include more Olympic sports, as World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation continue to take the leading role to aspire Olympism and Peace together. Taekwondo as a sport will strengthen its efforts to be a sport of hopes and dreams.


This is going to be yet another amazing year for the World Taekwondo Family, as we further cement our status as one of the most respected sports of Olympic and Paralympic Movements. As we look to a year of aspiring Olympism and Peace, I thank each and every member for your passionate support for Taekwondo. Thank you and Happy New Year!