The World Taekwondo tournament that came to a close on Thursday at the Ethiopian Youth and Sports Academy gymnasium brought 32 new faces from eight federal states: Addis Ababa, Oromia, Afar, Harari, Benshangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, Tigray and Gambella. Each participating team brought two men and two women contenders. Though the World Taekwondo Federation invited all federal states to compete in this first national contest the Amhara and Somali states failed to show up. The Dire Dawa City Administration doesn’t have Taekwondo team.
In this first tournament the Addis Ababa men’s and women’s sides took title beating their opponents with consummate ease. In the men’s event Benshangul-Gumuze finished second while Oromia took silver in the women’s event. Tigray won the third place both in the men’s and women’s event.
This tournament was organized in connection to the South Korean week that was marked under the motto of ‘Promoting solidarity and friendship with Ethiopia and to familiarize the Korean culture to the Ethiopian people.’ Kenya has a long experience of organizing such event in connection to the South Korean week. The event organizers said that this was organized taking the experience of Kenya.
According the Ethiopian World Taekwondo Federation Secretary General Kifle Seife this competition was fully sponsored by the South Korean Embassy. “We are happy that the Embassy covered all the expenses in connection to this event. It will be very much helpful to promote world Taekwondo across the country,” the Secretary General said.
In the closing ceremony the South Korean Ambassador Kim Monhwan said that World Taekwondo is an ancient Korean Martial Arts. “I felt very happy when I observed that this traditional Korean art is well placed in the Ethiopian society. South Korea will do everything possible to promote World Taekwondo in the country,” the Ambassador said.
Ambassador Kim Monhwan further said that it is the utmost necessity to solidify the Ethio-Korean relations in different sectors. “We have the bounden duty to further strengthen our brotherly relation with Ethiopia. World Taekwondo is just one specific sector South Korea would like to promote,” he remarked. The Ambassador also thanked the country’s world Taekwondo governing body for organizing this colourful event in connection to the South Korean week.
The Ethiopian World Taekwondo Federation President Tesfaye Shiferaw told journalists that the contribution of the South Korean Embassy to the promotion of world Taekwondo is immense. “World Taekwondo is now expanding to the grass root level. That has been enhanced by the great assistance of South Korea,” the President said.
The Ethiopian World Taekwondo national team head coach Master Addis Ourgessa said that the country has a long way to go to produce elite contenders from different states. “As we have seen the contenders who took part in this tournament didn’t live up to expectations. But the event helped us evaluate the position of different states in this sport. This will be a spring board for our future activities across the country,” Addis said.