(ATR) International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer says a new partnership with World Taekwondo will help with the IFs’ global refugee programs.
WT President Chungwon Choue and IJF President Marius Vizer with agreement (ATR)
The MOU was signed by Vizer and taekwondo chief Chungwon Choue on the sidelines of the Taekwondo World Championships at the Manchester Arena on Wednesday.
The federations have agreed to promoting sport as a vehicle towards peace, social development and integration of vulnerable populations.
The MOU includes uniting forces in offering sport for development and peace activities in the geographical areas where the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation and both international federations are already providing services as well as potentially other locations worldwide.
“We have our own experience in refugee programs in different regions of the world. With that experience, joining together we can act globally more and more efficiently,” Vizer tells Around the Rings
One of the IJF initiatives is its work with the Zambia Judo Association on the Meheba Refugee Settlement program, which has been running in northern Zambia for more than three years.
Vizer suggested the agreement might lead to joint judo and taekwondo refugee and sport for peace programs, which could involve the federations working in together on school projects in various regions of the world.
He said the IJF was already financially supporting a group of refugee judokas to participate in global competitions until the end of August next year. After that, the federation would be “taking care of their professional integration” and was “intending to have a refugee team in the Tokyo Olympics if it would be possible”.
The IOC is building a Refugee Team for Tokyo 2020 and the collaboration between the two federations may help increase the number of athletes from each sport who are selected for it.
Choue said he was delighted to finalize the MOU agreement, which was the culmination of discussions over several years. “We want to do a lot more to support refugees,” said the WT leader who has made the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation a key priority in his current term of office.
Taekwondo World Champs Open
Around 975 athletes from 150 countries and one refugee team under World Taekwondo’s flag are competing in 16 weight categories (eight men, eight women) at the world championships which opened in Manchester today.
Action from the first day of the world championships (ATR)
There was action in three weight categories on day one (F -46kg, F -73kg, M -58kg).
The current F -73kg world champion, Milica Mandic of Serbia started the defense of her title.
Yvette Yong of Canada and Kyriaki Kouttouki of Cyprus are the favorites to medal in the F -46kg event. Spain’s Jesus Tortosa Cabrera and 2017 world silver medalist Mikhail Artamonov of Russia launched their bids for the M -58kg world title.
The World Taekwondo Championships from May 15-19 mark the first time the event has come to the U.K.
Crowds were thin on the opening day of action on seven mats but the buzz in the arena is expected to go up a notch when more spectators arrive for the first medal bouts on Thursday.
A first for the World Taekwondo Championships is a 4D camera rig – pioneered in the Grand Slam Champions Series, held in Wuxi, China, over the last two years – which is set up around the central court to capture all matches including semi-finals and finals.
It provides 360-degree scans of the action, enabling viewers to see every angle of the athletes’ acrobatics and providing “Matrix”-style visual effects. A 4D camera will be used in the presentation of taekwondo at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Reported by Mark Bisson in Manchester.
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