Six individuals were inducted to the World Taekwondo Hall of Fame at the General Assembly in Sofia ©World Taekwondo
Founder Un-yong Kim and former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch were among the six inductees to the World Taekwondo Hall of Fame at the governing body’s General Assembly in Sofia.
Former World Taekwondo President Kim of South Korea, together with former World Taekwondo vice-president Ahmed Fouly of Egypt and Spanish official Samaranch, were posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.
They are joined by official Dai-soon Lee and athlete Kook-hyun Jung, both of South Korea, and Chinese athlete Zhong Chen.
Samaranch is credited with helping taekwondo to gain recognition as an Olympic sport.
Taekwondo was a demonstration sport at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992, before becoming a permanent fixture on the Olympic programme at Sydney 2000 under Samaranch’s IOC Presidency.
The seventh IOC leader died at the age of 89 in 2010.
Kim founded World Taekwondo, served as its President and was a former IOC vice-president, SportAccord President and President of the International World Games Association.
He died at the age of 86 in 2017.
Fouly is a former vice-president of World Taekwondo and President of World Taekwondo Africa, who died at the age of 70 in 2020.
Lee’s admission to the Hall of Fame recognised his contribution to World Taekwondo as its vice-president and as President of World Taekwondo Asia, and in developing relations with the South Korean Government.
Jung is a four-time world champion, while Chen claimed back-to-back Olympic gold medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue paid tribute to the six inductees to the Hall of Fame, which was created by the World Taekwondo Council in May 2019.
“I am very happy to see so many members of our World Taekwondo family here in Sofia and also thank those who joined us online,” South Korean official Choue said.
“I treasure the unity and friendship that we have, and our passion to instil good governance throughout our sport and organisation.
“I am especially proud that we inaugurated the first class of the World Taekwondo Hall of Fame.
“Throughout World Taekwondo’s illustrious history, there have been many, many individuals that have helped shape our sport and organisation.
“Today we have honoured some of these giants of taekwondo who have laid the foundations for us to reach new heights.”
The General Assembly was held in between the World Taekwondo Cadet Championships and Junior Championships in the Bulgarian capital.
Reports were provided to delegates on a Member National Association survey, global membership system, virtual taekwondo, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation and cooperation with Kukkiwon.
Virtual taekwondo is set to feature at the Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham, scheduled for Saturday (August 6) and Sunday (August 7).
Next year’s World Taekwondo General Assembly has been scheduled for May 28 in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.