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  • Taekwondo Sets Target for Tokyo 2020 Ticket Sales


    (ATR) Federation leaders are aiming to exceed Rio 2016 ticket sales at the Tokyo Games.

    WT President Chongwun Choue (ATR)
    World Taekwondo president Chungwon Choue referenced the goal in his speech to delegates attending the federation’s general assembly in Manchester Tuesday.

    Laying out his hopes for Tokyo 2020, he said taekwondo was making efforts to “exceed ticket sales” compared to past Games.

    Choue’s ambition chimes with that of Tokyo 2020’s sport manager for taekwondo, Hiroaki Onohara.

    Onohara tells Around the Rings that he expects the four days of taekwondo competition – two sessions on each day – to be virtually sold out.

    At Rio 2016, 95 percent of the 7,500-seat Carioca Arena 3 inside the Barra Olympic Park was sold out for the sport’s competition.

    Filling the 10,000-seat Makuhari Messe Hall A in the Japanese capital represents a far bigger challenge for both the IF and taekwondo leaders.

    Choue said it was “not an easy task. We will work very hard to fill up all spectators”.

    Onohara said Tokyo 2020 was up to the challenge, forecasting that more than 95 percent of tickets at the venue would be sold.

    Taekwondo chief Choue also spoke about his ambition for mixed team taekwondo to become a medal event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, saying the federation was “working tirelessly” to make it happen. It’s a showcase sport at next year’s Games. “I have no doubt that the medal events will be increased from eight to nine for Paris 2024.”

    Speaking about taekwondo’s governance overhaul – part of efforts to improve under ASOIF’s ongoing program – he said the sport was increasing its transparency in alignment with IOC guidelines.

    “We bring huge value to the Olympic Movement these days. Only the sports who bring value to the movement survive. With that in mind, I am proud to say we are on the right track,” he said.

    The federation reported revenues of $10.3 million in 2018, projecting income of $11.5 million this year.

    Safe Sport Progress

    As part of the governance revamp of the martial arts sport, federation leaders said a sweeping review of its statutes, codes and bylaws would be made. Changes coming will include more transparency around recording of financials, establishing confidential reporting mechanisms from whistleblowers and strengthening the anti-discrimination policy.

    WT general assembly in Manchester on Tuesday (ATR)
    IOC executives Susan Greinig and Kirsty Burrows updated the congress on the Olympic committee’s work on prevention of harassment and abuse in sport initiatives. Efforts to tighten policies with IFs and NOCs have paved the way for consensus statements, guidelines and toolkits.

    Rio 2016 was the first time a Games-time framework was used. A year later, the IOC launched its athlete safeguarding toolkit for IFs and NOCs.

    Taekwondo officials were praised by the IOC for progressing their safe sport policies and procedures, seen as vital to safeguard athletes and protect the integrity of sport.

    There are safeguarding banners at the taekwondo worlds, which open Wednesday in Manchester, and a reporting structure is in place.

    “We all have a role to play in this area. And sometimes sport can be the only safe place. It’s essential we ensure we provide safe training and competing places,” Burrows said.

    “You are the ones who are on the frontline. No matter what the rules are at international level, if they are not being followed at the national level it’s no good,” she told delegates.

    Hall of Fame

    World Taekwondo’s new Hall of Fame will be ready to recognize and honor its founders and great fighters in December.

    Up to 18 inductees, including some of the sport’s pioneers, will be the first wave of names to make the Hall of Fame. Applications for nominees are due in by Sept. 1. An awards ceremony for the first induction is planned for the federation’s gala in Moscow.

    World Taekwondo has yet to choose the Hall of Fame location, but is considering venues in Korea and China.

    In the 25th anniversary year of taekwondo becoming an Olympic sport, Choue told delegates: “I think it is about time to create this Hall of Fame of ours.”

    New Headquarters

    World Taekwondo headquarters are moving to another site in Seoul in June.

    The federation is moving to a building 10 minutes walk away from the old one which offers better transport links. Crucially, it’s rent free.

    Rental costs will be paid for by construction company Booyoung. The federation told ATR it would allow the money earmarked for leasing the HQ to be reinvested in developing the sport worldwide.

    Reported by Mark Bisson in Manchester, England

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