World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue described 2018 as "tremendous" in his end of year address ©World Taekwondo

The President of World Taekwondo Chungwon Choue has used his New Year's message to highlight the continuing growth of the sport.

Choue, who has been President since 2004 and was most recently re-elected unopposed in 2017, described the past year as "tremendous" and said it "showcased the bright future of our sport".

"The successes of the Hammamet 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships and the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, coupled with taekwondo's inclusion for the first time in the International School Sport Federation Gymnasiade 2018, exhibited the up-and-coming stars that will carry our sport into the future," he said.

The South Korean also said 2018 had "reinforced the worldwide appeal" of the Grand Prix Series and established it as one of taekwondo's premier events.

"Other than our established stops in Manchester and Moscow, the 2018 Grand Prix Series also took place for the first time in Rome, Italy, Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, and the Finals in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates," he said.

He also added that poomsae left "an indelible mark on the global stage" and the Grand Slam Champions Series pushed the boundaries "of exciting spectator and media engagement".

"The Taipei 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships registered record-breaking participation numbers," he said.

"Furthermore, poomsae was featured for the first time at the Asian Games, in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the host country winning its first-ever taekwondo medal - and gold - by a female athlete."

Not just focusing on the sport itself, however, Choue also drew attention to the Federation's work to promote peace.

Poomsae taekwondo featured at the Asian Games for the first time in 2018 ©Getty Images
Poomsae taekwondo featured at the Asian Games for the first time in 2018 ©Getty Images

"On the occasion of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Korea, World Taekwondo and the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation performed a joint demonstration at the pre-Opening Ceremony, in front of heads of states and dignitaries, and millions of viewers around the world," he said.

"A high-calibre World Taekwondo delegation also visited Pyongyang, North Korea, and held another meeting in Wuxi."

Chou also noted how World Taekwondo have become the only Olympic Federation to be invited to the Vatican, where they held a demonstration for peace in front of Pope Francis, while the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation has opened an academy for Syrian refugees in Azraq in Jordan.

"Taekwondo is a powerful channel for bringing hope and peace to the masses, and 2018 was another historic year in fulfilling our vision of peace through taekwondo," Choue said.

"Looking ahead to 2019, it is set to be another momentous year in World Taekwondo's drive for excellence.

"An all-encompassing strategic plan focusing on sustainability and value-based results will be published to guide World Taekwondo’s programmes from next year.

"We will also focus on the global standardization and expansion of World Taekwondo’s development and education programmes."

In February, Antalya in Turkey will host the World Para Taekwondo Championships, while the World Taekwondo Championships will go ahead in Manchester in the United Kingdom in May.

There will also be a new Islamic Women's Open Championships in Saudi Arabia in November, while 2019 on the whole marks the 25th anniversary of taekwondo's inclusion on the Olympic programme.