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President Pragalos joined dr. Chungwon Choue on the World Taekwondo fact-finding mission to Nepal. The country was struck by a devastating earthquake only 9 months ago. The World Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation visited Nepal to investigate how the Foundation can assist the country by applying taekwondo. Nepal, a country with 65,000 taekwondo practitioners, can use all the help at this time. The visited to the center of Kathmandu showed that the people of Nepal are working hard to repair the damage, but a lot of works still needs to be done.

The Nepal Taekwondo Association planned an excellent visit, with on the first day a visit to the Prime Minister of the country, a visit to ground zero of the earthquake and a visit to the city of Basmati and Pokhara. During the visit to Bagmati, all the people were gathered to welcome the World Taekwondo delegation and President Choue. The World Taekwondo demonstration team gave an excellent demonstration which was attended by the Vice-president of the country. After the demonstration, the delegation was taken to ground zero of the earthquake.

The countryside changed into a surreal moon landscape, in which the earthquake destroyed more than 20,000 houses and took the lives of thousands of Nepalese people. During the last  days of the visit, the delegation travelled to Pokhara and met with the local clubs.






World Taekwondo Federation launched the website of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. The website can be found via the following link: www.thfaid.org


The ETU Council unanimously decided that the Swedish Taekwondo Federation’s (STF) membership is revoked with immediate effect. Based on article 15 of the statutes of ETU, the Council revoked their membership. Since the beginning of 2014, the STF is not in
compliance with the WTF and ETU statutes. ETU discussed the matter with the federation at first, but when no progress was made, the WTF got involved in the case. At a tripartite meeting in Lausanne, a solution was almost reached but the STF bailed out at the last moment. Since 2014, three different presidents have been leading the federation. In October of 2015, the ETU president had a meeting with the Swedish NOC president to solve the
case. They reached an agreement and ETU lifted the suspension of the federation and as a sign of good faith. However, such a sign of good faith – e.g. the General Assembly approving the way forward - was not delivered by the STF. The board of STF has not done anything for nearly 2 years to resolve the situation.  And promises were not fulfilled. The only thing that happened is that the board of the STF brought other organizations to our meetings, but the fact still remains that the board of the STF for almost 2 years has not done anything to remedy the problems it created.

Based on the above arguments and based on article 15.5 and 15.3 of the ETU Statutes, the
ETU Council:

- decided to revoke the membership of the Swedish Taekwondo Federation with immediate effect,
- guarantees that the Swedish athletes who qualified or are in the process of qualifying for the Olympics will remain unharmed and are able to participate at all events either under the flag of WTF or ETU,
- guarantees that all Swedish athletes with an IOC or NOC scholarship shall remain unharmed and are able to participate at all events either under the flag of WTF or ETU.

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The 2nd Final Day of the “European Qualification Tournament 2016 for the XXXI Olympiad” was carried out today, 16th January 2016, at WOW Convention Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

These are the results from each competition category, where 1st and 2nd position qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games:

Category: Seniors Female A – 49 – Competitors: 17
1st Abakarova, Patimat – Azerbaijan National Team
2nd Bogdanovic, Tijana – Serbia National Team
3rd Romoldanova, Iryana – Ukraine National Team
4th Nicoli, Erica – Italy National Team

Category: Seniors Female A - 57 – Competitors: 19
1st Asemani, Raheleh – World Taekwondo Refugee Team
2nd Mikkonen, Suvi – Finland National Team
3rd Magnus, Marie – Norway National Team
4th Froemming, Anna-Lena – Germany National Team

Category: Seniors Male A – 80 – Competitors: 17
1st Beigi Harchegani, Milad – Azarbaijan National Team
2nd Pazinski, Piotr – Poland National Team
3rd Sari, Yunus – Turkey National Team
4th Ordemann, Richard Andre – Norway National Team

Category: Seniors Male A +80 – Competitors: 13
1st Cho, Mahama – Great Britain National Team
2nd Silla, Arman-Marshall – Belarus National Team
3rd Molfetta, Carlo – Italy National Team
4th Trajkovic, Ivan – Slovenia National Team

Some of the athletes and coaches stated:
Piotr Panzinski, Poland – 80kg
'Its a great honor to represent Poland at the Olympic Games. I've been training for 20 years and now I made it to the top level of the sport. I knew during the semi-final against Norway when I scored a big punch to move 6-0 into the lead that I was going to make it to the Olympics. It was such an unforgettable feeling. I can’t describe it. I want to thank Thomas Pygiaz, my coach, for all his hard work and support. And thanks also to Miacheal Lomewski - he taugh me the martial art from the beginning and I'm so greatful, it’s a pleasure to work with him. And for the Olympics I'm ready for everyone."

Suvi Mikonnen, Finland -57 kg
“'It an incredible feeling to qualify for the OG for the second time...It’s been a long hard road to qualify and in some ways this progress to Rio is more special, because it’s been such a hard challenge.” Her coach, Jesus Ramal commentated “I am so proud of Suvi. She works so hard and is such a professional. She had a serious knee surgery after London OG and now here she is...It’s been a battle but she kept going. I'd like to thank ROSA, her sparring partner for being so positive and always smiling and she has a great attitude. We hope that in 2020 she will make it herself to the OG. I want to say thanks to the Finish Federation and Olympic committee as they support us a lot, and very importantly to everyone at Hankuk TKD Club in Madrid. Our Suvi is going to Rio! And this time she’s going for a medal.”

Asemani Raheleh, World Taekwondo Federation – 57 kg
“I am so happy going to Rio Olympic Games I cannot believe it is happening. I want to thank Laurence and Karim so much for helping me to make it. It’s been such a hard journey. I was lost and many times in my head, I thought it would not happen because of politics, visa problems, lack of money. I couldn’t travel to ranking events because I can only go inside Schengen countries. So, it’s been so hard to qualify, so hard, but I want to thank the WTF and especially Dr. Choue for his humanitarian effort. It’s amazing that I have this opportunity as a refugee in Belgium and I am so pleased the IOC is bringing hope and fairness in this way. I have so many difficulties to be here. It’s too much to mention. Thanks to Laurence Rase for helping me so much with all of the paperwork and hard times. It incredible I am now an Olympian - a refugee Olympian. I made it! I work in a post office. I run from house to house delivering letters. But today I have delivered an Olympic ticket. I'm going to Rio. I have one thing to say to all young Taekwondo players. Never give up! Believe in yourself and work hard. And a special thanks to Indra Craen. We are both representing Belgium and I managed to win today. She is so gracious and dignified. She is a great ambassador of our sport and so young. Her time is coming...and my time is now. Rio is a dream for me. Hope has carried me to the Olympics. Now I will give all I have to win.”

Karim Dighou Belgium Coach commented: “I am living a dream now. Indra did so well at the Youth Olympics. Jaoud qualified in Mexico and now Raheleh made it. It’s so special. Our Belgian team is a family. We care about each other we support each other. And Rio is going to be very special for us. What a moment!”

Laurence Rase the Performance Director of Belgium and former double world medalist and Athens 2004 Olympian said: “Our team has done so well. I’m really proud of them and the Belgian Olympic Committee will be too. (Asemani, Raheleh - 57 kg gold medal winner)
It’s been such a hard few months and the last week has been one of the biggest challenges of my life, I want to thank Dr. Choue for the invitation letter to compete at this event and the kindness to give the refugee athletes a chance...If this was a movie nobody would believe it was possible... It’s an incredible moment for all of us and I would like to thank the WTF and IOC for their compassion and humanitarian spirit. Today is a victory for Raheleh, but it is also a victory for fairness in sport. Rio will showcase that Taekwondo cares... And that Belgium is ready. I hope with the IOC help we can travel to more ranking events because hopefully now as an Olympian, the visa problems and travel difficulty will be a lot less. Also, the financial requirements are considerable, so we are looking for help and support.”

The 1st ETU-AIPS Europe MEDIA Workshop was completed today, Sunday 17 January 2016.
The title of the workshop was “Development to Success” and its scope was to explore Taekwondo as an Olympic sport, increase Taekwondo media awareness and discuss new media scopes and other challenges in sport journalism, through the delivery of five (5) different sessions of presentations and panel discussions.
The participants were mostly AIPS Europe members, but also ETU Faculty and other well-recognized journalists.
Among them was also present as a special guest Mr. Morley Myers, one of the most experienced sport journalists, having participated in numerous winter and summer Olympic Games, member of the SJA and the European sportswriters’ organization, the UEPS, of which he has been secretary general since 1994.

Mr. Ioannis Daras, President of the AIPS Europe, stated: “The 1st ETU-AIPS Europe Media Workshop was carried out successfully. The journalists acquired a lot of information around the Olympic sport of Taekwondo and had the opportunity to discuss issues about the media awareness of the sport and how to increase its attractiveness throughout live broadcasting, digital media and the fans or athletes story telling. This workshop was just the starting point that brought the European Taekwondo and the media closer. From now on, every day and every year, the ETU in collaboration with AIPS Europe will open the way to Taekwondo education and awareness, through further schooling.”
Effie Zikouli, ETU Media Committee Chairwoman, stated: “Despite the problems occurred in Turkey, I am glad that fellow colleagues from all Europe, initiate their communication bonds here, through the Olympic sport of Taekwondo. Throughout the workshop, they had the opportunity to meet with Teakwondo experts and watch high-quality Taekwondo games that brought to 16 European athletes the Golden ticket for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

The 1ST Day of the “European Qualification Tournament 2016 for the XXXI Olympiad” was carried out today, 16th January 2016, at WOW Convention Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

These are the results from each competition category:

Category: Seniors Female A – 67 – Competitors: 17
1st Azizova, Farida – Azerbaijan National Team
2nd Gulek, Rabia – Germany National Team
3rd Anic, Franka – Slovenia National Team
4th CIUCHITU, ANA – Moldova National Team

Category: Seniors Female A +67 – Competitors: 7
1st Skaar, Tina – Norway National Team
2nd Oogink, Reshmie – Netherlands National Team
3rd Ivanova, Olga – Russia National Team
4th Rajher, Nusa – Slovenia National Team

Category: Seniors Male A – 58 – Competitors: 15
1st Atias, Ron – Israel National Team
2nd Tortosa Cabrera, Jesus – Spain National Team
3rd Wooley, Jack – Ireland National Team
4th Gladovic, Milos – Serbia National Team

Category: Seniors Male A – 58 – Competitors: 25
1st Robak, Karol – Poland National Team
2nd Grgic, Filip – Croatia National Team
3rd Pantar, Jure – Slovenia National Team
4th Fejzic, Damir – Serbia National Team

Some of the athletes that took the Golden Ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games stated:

Rabia Gulec – Germany: “My brother qualified in Mexico and now I will join him! It’s such a beautiful moment, I am speechless. Without the hard times, I wouldn’t know this joy. My coach protected me, guided me and now me, my uncle, my brother and coach, we go to Rio. It’s such a special feeling..! I was happy for all of my family to go to the Olympics… But now I have now my own joy… Rio is calling and I answered today!”

Tina Skaar – Norway: “I owe this victory to my coach Dave Cook. If it was not for him, I would not have made it. I’m so proud today and I thank my family, my team and my club also. A few weeks ago I was sick. I didn’t think I could make it. But now I’m going to Rio… It’s a dream to me!”

Filip Gricig – Croatia: “I’ve been practicing Taekwondo for 22 years, since I was four. I became world champion in 2008 and nearly 10 years later I am going to the Olympics! I’m the first Croatian man to qualify for the Olympics in Taekwondo. I am so proud and I dedicate this win to my coach Toni – he made this happen and now I go to Rio! Tonight I’ll dream of Rio!”

Reshime Oogink – Netherlands: “I came so close in Mexico…It’s been a long hard battle, but I made it… It’s so nice to qualify and to feel the support of my friends and family. I got of messages of congratulations, so I’m so happy right now.”

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the European Taekwondo Union (ETU) have renewed their partnership agreement.

The signing event took place in Athens.

EBU and European Taekwondo Union renew partnership deal:

Gold Olympic Medalist Michalis Mouroutsos presents the EBU and ETU renew partnership deal:

ETU President Sakis Pragalos speech ( EBU and ETU renew partnership deal):

EBU Head of Indoor Sports Ingolfur Hannesson speech (EBU and ETU renew partnership deal):

President of HOC Spyros Capralos, (EBU and ETU renew partnership deal):



With great sadness we have taken notice of the attacks this morning in the city center of Istanbul. Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and families of the victims of these terrible attacks.

I understand that you and your teams participating at the European Qualification Tournament for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad are worried after today’s events. The competition venue is inside the Wow Hotel and Congress Center, which is located 10 minutes from the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, outside the city center. We have discussed the situation with the Turkish Taekwondo Federation and extra attention is given to security. The event will therefore continue as scheduled.

Yesterday, the ETU office has send you the registration and location form. Please make sure that this form is sent to ETU forthwith, so that we know where the teams are located and how we can contact them.

On the occasion of the WTF President’s Cup, ETU is hosting a Coach Seminar. The Coach License is mandatory for all coaches who want to officiate at ETU and other G-ranked events worldwide. Your ETU Coach License will be accepted as well by all other Continental Unions of WTF while participating at events in their region.

Details of the seminar:

Saturday 02. and  Sunday 03. April 2016

Hotel Mercure Bonn
Max- Habermann Str. 2
53123 Bonn
Tel.  0049 228 25990

Please make your hotel reservations via the following link:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please make sure the entry fee of 200 euro is paid by bank:
Bank account: Volksbank Bigge Lenne eG
Niederste Str. 22-24
57439 Attendorn / Germany
IBAN: DE72460628172751125700

Register through the following link






With great joy, we welcomed the New Year! It will be an exciting year, with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as major event. But besides the Olympics, we are facing many more events, some of which will be inaugural like the WTF President’s Cup in Bonn, Germany. ETU will also celebrate its 40th anniversary!

But let me look back to the year 2015 and what we have achieved together. The inclusion of Taekwondo into the Paralympics in 2020 was without the continuing work and extraordinary leadership of Dr. Choue not possible. His idea to create the World Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation shows that we care for all our taekwondo athletes. The visit of Dr. Choue to the refugee camp in Jordan and the upcoming visit to the WTF Humanitarian Foundation Pilot Project in Nepal shows that he is an exceptional leader. I am very proud to be part of the Taekwondo Family and that we have shown the world that our sport is an all-inclusive sport.

We had some great events in 2015, with the inaugural European Games in Baku (Azerbaijan) as one of the milestones for our organization. Finally, also Europe has joined the other continents with its own Continental multi-games. But we also organized for the first time European Championships in Olympic Weight categories in Russia and European Kids Championships for our very youngsters. In addition to those events, we had events in Turkey, Romania, Serbia and France. I am very grateful for the support ETU receives from its members while organizing these events!

The year 2016 will be an important year for ETU. Of course, the Olympic Games is for our very best athletes the milestone of their year. But for all other athletes, we continue to organize our events. We will have our events for Seniors, Clubs, Kids, Cadets and Under 21 year athletes. But we will also continue with the Coach License program, with which we continue to educate and train our coaches.

In 1976, ETU was founded. This year we will celebrate our 40th anniversary. This gives us the opportunity to look back and reminisce. What have we achieved together in the past years and what do we want to leave as a legacy for our children? I am very excited to start with 2016!

Allow me to wish all athletes, officials, friends and all members of the Taekwondo Family a Happy and Blessed New Year!


Sakis Pragalos
ETU President

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