Daniel Etchells
Daniel Etchells ©ITGThe World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Grand Prix final has been a real hit in the Mexican city of Queretaro and the man least surprised about that is the sport's President Chungwon Choue, who is delighted to see the sport return to one of its global hotbeds.

You only had to witness the atmosphere inside the Queretaro Convention Centre yesterday, when home favourite Maria Espinoza went up against The Netherlands' Reshmie Oogink in the women's 67 kilogram final, to get a sense of just how passionate Mexicans are for taekwondo.

Although Espinoza suffered a narrow 4-2 loss to her Dutch counterpart, she certainly couldn't fault the backing of her avid supporters who did all they could to try and drive the former Olympic champion to victory.

Unrelenting cries of "venga Maria" ("come on Maria") could be heard behind the venue's written press area throughout Espinoza's three bouts, while the deafening silence that greeted confirmation of her defeat in the final said equally as much about the love for taekwondo in Mexico, if not more.

Sitting down to interview President Choue between the semi-finals and finals on the opening day of the Grand Prix, the South Korean reminisced about the significance of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in establishing a connection between taekwondo and the Mexican population.

Mexico won three medals in total at the Games and significantly two of those, both gold, came in taekwondo as Espinoza triumphed in her weight class and Guillermo Pérez prevailed in the men's 58kg category.

Five years later, Mexico hosted the WTF World Taekwondo Championships for the very first time in the city of Puebla, laying down a huge marker in the country's bid to host future events.

This year's staging of the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Aguascalientes, as well as the WTF Grand Prix final and WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships, due to start tomorrow, shows that Mexico certainly means business when it comes to the combat sport, while talk of taking the 2015 WTF Grand Prix final to Mexico City further reinforces the esteem in which the country is held by the world governing body.

Taekwondo is also continuing to develop across other areas of the world, such as Iraq, Bhutan and the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Henan where taekwondo is a compulsory subject in schools.

insidethegames reporter Daniel Etchells interviews World Taekwondo Federation President Chungwon Choue during the Grand Prix final in Queretaro ©WTFinsidethegames reporter Daniel Etchells interviews World Taekwondo Federation President Chungwon Choue during the Grand Prix final in Queretaro ©WTF

Choue is of the opinion that this is down to the human values which the sport promotes at youth level. 

"I believe taekwondo is only the combat sport to teach not only how to fight and how to combat, but to teach young kids to respect elderly people and also respect their own nations and harmonise with their colleagues and friends," he told me. 

"Because of those kinds of things, most parents really like their kids to be learning taekwondo.

"We already have 260 member nations and many of the countries' taekwondo population is, athletes wise, second after football."

Taekwondo was named as one of the 25 sports that will be form the core of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the 125th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

The next such Session will be held in 2017 and Choue stressed the importance of ensuring that the sport continues to evolve to keep its place among the Summer Olympics' elite disciplines.

"We will do our best in order to promote our sport and also make our sport more fair and transparent," he said.

"After every Olympic Games, we change a little bit, little by little, such as shrinking the competition area and introducing new competition rules and regulations.

"In Rio [at the 2016 Olympic Games], we are introducing the octagonal shape of the competition area for the first time and we are already studying [the possibility of] having new uniforms, using different materials for the athletes.

"We're also using electronic sensor head gear [Protector Scoring System (PSS)], so I believe the Games will be more interesting than in London [at the 2012 Olympic Games]."

The support from the Mexican fans for home fighter Maria Espinoza during the Grand Prix final in Queretaro was magnificent ©WTFThe support from the Mexican fans for home fighter Maria Espinoza during the Grand Prix final in Queretaro was magnificent ©WTF

In 2008, the WTF introduced the World Taekwondo Peace Corps, an initiative which aims to help the youth of developing countries "to build a dream and provide hope that poverty can be overcome", as well as promote taekwondo as a sport.

Choue has recently applied to become a member of the IOC, as one of the 15 representatives of the International Federations (IFs), and if selected, he would like to see a Peace Corp created for each Olympic sport, with the IOC and the United Nations working alongside each other.

"There are 28 Summer Olympic sports and seven Winter Olympic sports and if they're doing what we're doing now, young kids could achieve their dreams through other Olympic sports," he said.

"I'll keep in contact with the secretary general [of the United Nations] Ban Ki-moon, and also IOC President Thomas Bach, to discuss this matter in the very near future."

In this sense, taekwondo is showing other sports the way forward by setting an example to follow and this perhaps is one of the main reasons why the sport has grown so considerably under Choue's Presidency from 2004 onwards.

Innovative thinking and an incessant desire for continuous development has got taekwondo to where it is today and it certainly doesn't show any signs of letting up.

It seems almost inevitable that the sport will continue to grow. Who knows how far it can go.

Daniel Etchells is a reporter for insidethegames. To follow him on Twitter click here.