April 12 - The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) vowed they will keep striving to improve following their London 2012 success after launching a new development programme, claiming the sport "will need to demonstrate a clear improvement for every edition of the Games or risk getting left behind".
The programme was announced in a statement on the WTF website by secretary general Jean-Marie Ayer, who outlined the key concepts and goals of the development programme, also stating that they were "confident" of remaining on the Olympic sports programme for 2020, but must ensure that standards remain high.
"We must become more effective and more efficient, and must work together to strengthen the taekwondo movement," he said.
"It is with this in mind that I am pleased to announce that the WTF has created a new development programme to allow us to channel our resources to the areas with the greatest potential for a positive impact on our sport."
Ayer then went on to describe the four major points of the new programme, with emphasis on improving the sport at grass-roots level and a much-changed funding system for member national associations (MNAs).
"The WTF will automatically deduct payment of the annual MNA membership, except those who explicitly wish to pay their own fees by other means," said the statement.
"By doing so, WTF wants to reduce the administrative burden associated with these fees
"To ensure more opportunities for participation, the WTF will provide financial support to a limited number of MNA's to attend selected events.
"Because it is expected to have a high demand, this assistance will be approved strictly on financial need.
"To assist in the development at the grassroots, the WTF will continue to help the MNA's in the early stages of Taekwondo promotion in their respective regions, ensuring the value-in-kind support, with equipment and training material."
And finally: "With the new Development Program, the WTF will introduce the category "Programmes/Projects".
"This category will help WTF to indentify and fund useful projects to benefit the whole movement of taekwondo.
"Approval will be based on the potential value-added contribution that the project can give to the organisation and taekwondo."
The statement also emphasised the importance of four major events this year, including the World Para-Taekwondo Championships, which are due to take place this June in Lausanne, as the WTF looks to have the sport on the Paralympic sports programme within a five-year timescale.
Ayer also promised "a new standard of openness, fairness and transparency" in the WTF Election Bylaws, with the elections due to take place in July around the time of the 2013 World Taekwondo Championships in Puebla, Mexico.
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