The introduction of ITF-style tae-kwondo at the upcoming second National Games got a big boost after the Cambodian squad grabbed four gold, four silver and seven bronze medals up until Saturday at the 9th Asian Championships at the Buyant-Ukhaa sports complex in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
The event was open to all ITF-registered national governing bodies and to black-belt holders, with competition in both individual and team events for fighters as young as 8 to older than 49.
According to coach Kao Makara’s social media post, Cambodia’s tally went up by two gold, three silver and six bronze after the opening day’s impressive returns of gold medals from Sopheak Chan Oudom and Pal Chivorn, with Mat Sok Mean bagging bronze and the youth team taking silver.
The introduction of ITF-style taekwondo to the National Games has been seen as a logical extension in this form of martial arts, with Kukkiwon and the WTF enjoying a popular following in the Kingdom.
The original International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) was founded on March 22, 1966, by General Choi Hong-hi in Seoul, South Korea. The ITF practises a style of taekwondo known as Chang Hon taekwondo, though colloquially this is often referred to as “ITF-style”.
Karate refs upgraded
During the 1960s, the goal of the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) was to promote a unified style of taekwondo, as opposed to the nine separate martial arts styles.
By creating the ITF, Choi Hong-hi isolated himself and the KTA established Kukkiwon and the WTF. In recent years both the ITF and WTF, however, have moved closer towards a unified stance.
Meanwhile in Japan, Cambodia’s Pen Ratana and Chear Thary earned Grade A referee certification to make them among the first to reach such a level. The two successful candidates were among four Grade B referees from Cambodia taking up exams.
The secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Vath Chamroeun, called on other federations to emulate this success so that the country can build a bank of qualified officials for the 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games.