The World Taekwondo Federation approved four new members at its General Assembly in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on April 3, 2012 to increase its global membership to 201.


The approved new full member countries are the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Seychelles. With the new additions, the WTF ranks among the top eight International Sport Federations, in terms of the number of affiliated member associations.


The WTF General Assembly took place at the International Congress Center in Sharm El Sheikh, one day before the opening of the 9th World Junior Taekwondo Championships. The five-day championships, which will run until April 8, drew 749 athletes from 88 countries. "Our family has grown and developed so much of the past years. We are now one of the biggest sports in the world as we recognize a new member into our large family," said WTF President Chungwon Choue at the General Assembly.


WTF President Choue said, "With 201 member national associations, our sport reaches far and wide on every continent around the world. But size is just one of the ways that our great sport has developed". "We are in an age where we are easily and deeply connected to one another. We can watch live broadcasts of taekwondo from our mobile phones. And now, for the first time in history of the Olympic Games, and perhaps for the first time in the history of sport, we will be able to watch competitions in 3D, including taekwondo," he said.


"The WTF has also welcomed technology into our sport. Through the use of the protector and scoring system and instant video replay, we have sought to be the fairest, most transparently officiated sport on the Olympic program," he said. "For the London Olympic Games, we will step up our efforts toward fair play".


The WTF General Assembly also approved amendments to the WTF Statutes, the WTF Competition Rules and the WTF Poomsae Competition Rules. It also approved the amendments to Rules on Organization and Operation of International Taekwondo Championships. Most of the changes were made to help further ensure the safety of athletes and fairer refereeing and judging. Under the revised WTF Statutes, a separate WTF Athletes Committee will be formed away from the existing Athletes and Coaches Committee. The Athletes Committee will represent athletes within the taekwondo movement, uphold the rights and obligations of the athletes, and conduct educational training for and on behalf of athletes. The chairman or member of the Athletes Committee shall be a member of the Competition Supervisory Board for WTF-promoted championships.


The revised Competition Rules, which is effective starting the championships, stipulate, "When any part of the foot touches the opponent's head, it will be regarded as a valid point." The rationale is that for the safety of contestants, impact shall not be any more requirements to score three points.


The new Competition Rules also stipulate, "In the last 10 seconds of the third round and in any time during the sudden-death or golden-point round, any of the judges can ask for instant video review and correction of scoring when a coach does not have appeal quota. The rationale is that winner of taekwondo competition is decided very often in the last minute of the contest. When a coach does not have an appeal quota, there is no way to give another chance for review unless any of judges ask for correction. This is a special measure to ensure that the scoring is corrected when there is any mistake.


The revised Competition Rules also make it a must for the referee call the WTF Medical Committee chairperson or commission doctor for the second time of one minute treatment and seek the advice from the WTF Medical Committee chairperson or commission doctor whether the injured contestant is able to continue the contest or not. The rationale is that it is often found that contestants take advantage of one-minute treatment for rest or recovery. It is also often found that contestants continue the contest despite serious injury. In order to avoid these situations, the role of independent commission doctor or WTF Medical Committee chairperson is critical to determine the injury status of the contestant and advise the referee.


The revised Poomsae Competition Rules newly set the age restriction of participants in the free-style poomsae competition. In the past, there was no restriction in the age of participants, but the new Poomsae Competition Rules stipulate that those aged 14 years old or older is eligible to participate. The General Assembly was also briefed on the WTF Global Membership System, the preparations for the WTF's 40th anniversary of founding, and the "I Love Taekwondo" and "Friends Guard" project.


At the General Assembly, there were announcements of the enactment of the WTF Medical Code and the enactment of WTF Bylaws on Betting and Anti-Corruption. There were also announcement of the successful host cities of the WTF's major championships. All those decisions were made at the WTF Council meeting on April 2.


The Mexican city of Puebla won the right to host the 2013 World Taekwondo Championships; Senegal's Dakar, the 2013 World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships and the 4th World Para-Taekwondo Championships; and Chinese Taipei's New Taipei City, the 10th World Junior Taekwondo Championships in 2014.


At the start of the WTF General Assembly, WTF President Chungwon Choue presented a plaque of appreciation to Mr. Jin Suk Yang for his five years of service as secretary general of the WTF. WTF President Choue also gave a letter of appointment to Mr. Jean-Marie Ayer as new WTF secretary general, and two new WTF Council members – Mr. Heinz Gruber of Germany and Mr. Milan Kwee of Singapore. Mr. Jhong-shin Bae, new chairman of the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, was introduced to the participants in the WTF General Assembly. The next WTF General Assembly will take place in the Mexican city of Puebla in 2013 on the occasion of the World Taekwondo Championships.