Chungwon Choue, centre of back row, has been re-elected President of the World Taekwondo Federation for a new four-year term ©WTF

Chungwon Choue has been re-elected President of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) for a new four-year term here today.

The WTF announced in April that the South Korean, who was first elected to the role in 2004, was standing unopposed.

His re-election was confirmed at the WTF General Assembly, which was held a day before the start of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships at Muju’s Taekwondowon venue. 

Looking ahead to the next quadrennial, Choue is putting a lot of emphasis on continuing the work of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF).

Established in April 2016, the THF's mandate is to deploy taekwondo coaches to refugee camps worldwide, bringing the benefits of fitness, sport, self-defence, self-belief, and self-respect to those who need it most. 

"We have been working for the past four years not only to promote taekwondo, but also we are thinking about the social contribution and how can taekwondo contribute to human society," Choue, who also serves as President of the THF, said.

"That’s why we created the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation last year in Lausanne, Switzerland because we are supporting refugee camps through our sport, but also bringing together an education programme.

"The main educational programme shows young kids how to live as good global citizens and how taekwondo can contribute to a better world and society.

"We are teaching them the importance of Olympism and the importance of world peace, so that is what we are going to do for the next four years."

Choue replaced the controversial Kim Un-Yong following his arrest on embezzlement and bribery charges in South Korea, which ultimately led to him being expelled from the International Olympic Committee.

He completed the year that Kim had left on his term and was re-elected in 2005 for a four-year mandate, before he reclaimed the position in 2009 and again in 2013.

Elections for places on the WTF's ruling Council also took place today ©WTF
Elections for places on the WTF's ruling Council also took place today ©WTF

In a speech prior to the vote, Choue noted the challenges the WTF faces, including new media supplanting the old, increasing regulatory oversight of sports, and the rise of new forms of sport and entertainment vying for public and media attention.

He insisted, however, that the future of the sport is bright, given its capacity to evolve. 

"If we do not take the initiative on change, we will lose it," he said. 

"It is up to us to control change and channel it in a positive direction."

In laying out his vision, Choue said the WTF must be more focused on its athletes and diversifying its formats in a bid to ensure that taekwondo is truly a sport for all.

He also believes the world governing body needs to upgrade the spectator value of all events and must be optimally member-centric.

"There is nothing we cannot achieve and no barrier we cannot overcome," Choue added. 

"Nothing will stop us further developing our great sport."

Elections for places on the WTF's ruling Council also took place today. 

There were originally 28 candidates standing for 12 positions, but Italy’s Angelo Cito and Malaysia's Mohd Nazifuddin Bin Mohd Najib both withdrew for reasons yet to be disclosed.

Three positions were available for members from Asia, Europe and Pan America, with two on offer for Africa and one for Oceania, with a simple majority required for victory.

The trio of representatives for Asia are Chinese Taipei's An-Chin Hsu, South Korea's Kook Hyun Jung and Jordan's Hazem Ahmad Awwad Naimat.

Spain's Jesus Castellanos Pueblas, Turkey's Metin Sahin and Russia's Anatoly K. Terekhov are Europe’s representatives, while Guatemala's Maria Borello, Canada's Inseon Kim and Mexico's Juan Manuel Lopez Delgado make up the Pan America threesome.

Completing the line-up are Africa's Driss El Hilali of Morocco and Issaka Ide of Niger and Oceania's Tae Kyung-kim of New Zealand.

The only two newly-elected members are Hsu and Kim at the expense of the outgoing Mohamed A.K. Al-Sulaiti of Qatar and Daiwon Moon of Mexico respectively.

Two auditors, Turkey's Ali Sagirkaya and Croatia's Dalibor Krpan, were elected unopposed along with the current Presidents of the Continental Unions - General Ahmad Fouly of the African Taekwondo Union, Kyu-seok Lee of the Asian Taekwondo Union, Sakis Pragalos of the European Taekwondo Union, John Kotsifas of the Oceania Taekwondo Union, and Ji Ho Choi of the Pan American Taekwondo Union.

To re-live today's General Assembly, check out our Live Blog here