altJune 24 - Choue Chung-won, the chairman of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is confident his plans to help globalizse the traditional Korean martial art is beginning to pay dividends.


The South Korean, 61, has launched the world’s first poomsae [a demonstration of a sequence of moves] championship and its first international taekwondo competition for disabled athletes since being elected to the post five years ago.


The Para-Taekwondo Championship was held for the first time earlier this month in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Choue believes that it has a big future, especially if plans to get it onto the programme for the Paralympics in 2016 are successful.


He said: “By giving disabled athletes the opportunity, they can develop confidence to overcome their challenges.


"I met a few athletes, and they said they were using taekwondo to try to overcome their physical problems and to lead as normal a life as possible.


"They also told me about their dreams of competing in the Paralympics and asked me to help them realise their dreams.


"We’re targeting the 2016 Paralympics for taekwondo’s inclusion.”


Other Choue initiatives include overhauling the scoring and judging in taekwondo, which is the world's most popular martial art and has been part of the Olympic programme since Sydney in 2000.


An instant video replay system is in place to help eliminate errors, following a row involving Britain's Sarah Stevenson at the Olympics in Beijing last year.


The Doncaster fighter was robbed of victory in her quarter-final bout with China's double Olympic champion Zhong Chen, the judges failing to record a kick to the teeth which Stevenson landed with 10 seconds to go.


Officials were later forced to overturn the result because the incident was so clear on the video and Stevenson went on to win a bronze medal.


Electronic protectors, which were used for the first time in WTF events at the Para-Taekwondo and World Cup Team Championships this month, are designed to aid officials in awarding points.


Choue now hopes to help the development of the sport in countries where it is still has to make an impact.


He said: “I plan to provide more financial and human resources aid for countries where taekwondo is still in its infancy or is underdeveloped.


“We will send coaches to such countries so that taekwondo can take deep roots and develop.


“The ultimate goal is to develop taekwondo on the global stage so that it’s not just a sport for Koreans."