Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation, has said that staging the World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships in Africa for the first time, with a number of athletes from the continent competing, will further increase the global appeal of the sport.
The 2013 WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships got under way in Abidjan, Ivory Coast yesterday, with more than 170 male and female athletes from 15 different countries descending on the Palais des Sports for the three-day event.
The biennial World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships first took place in Bangkok (Thailand) in 2006, and since then Baku (Azerbaijan), Urumqi (China) and Santa Cruz (Aruba) have played host, but this is the first time the event has gone to Africa.
Choue said: “Taekwondo has a very special relationship with Africa and we are delighted to be able to reward the loyal support here. The growth of taekwondo in Africa over the last two decades has been extraordinary; the WTF now has 49 African Member National Associations.
“Hosting world-class competitions like the WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships across the world will only increase the global reach of our sport. I have no doubt that over the next three days Abidjan will host an excellent event which will be contested in the spirit of friendship and fair play.”
As well as Ivory Coast, competing African nations this week are Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.
Brazil, China, France, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain and USA complete the line-up.