Gone are the days where different Taekwondo actors paid to be part of an unrecognized hall of fame, in which in exchange of money they received a dinner, compliments, a ring, and a diploma.

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Soon, in 2021 during the Wuxi World Championships, in China; The Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame will be released, where people with outstanding and real contributions to modern martial art will be included.

In a meeting of the Executive Council of the World Taekwondo (WT), held virtually past August 10, they talked about the Official Hall of Fame and the first five figures that will make it up, they are Un Yong Kim, Juan Antonio Samaranch, Dai -soon Lee, Kook Hyun Jung and Zhong Chen, informed the communication department of the entity.

“Selection is based on a number of different criteria, including the degree of the individual impact on taekwondo development, their influence, their devotion to others, and the expansion of the sport’s popularity,” WT said at the Press release.

The Official Hall of Fame Committee is made up by one WT Vice President, the Secretary General, a Member of the Executive Council, the chairman of the Relations and Development Committee and an independent consultant appointed by the WT President.

At the moment there are three divisions in which figures will be added, they are: Officials or WT officials, Athletes and Award for People who gave their lives to the development of the sport.

The Official WT Hall of Fame became a reality during the General Assembly of the entity in Manchester, UK, May 2019, when the project promoted by Pan America and supported by Seoul was left standing.

The firsts

Those who will be in charge of occupying the first positions within the hall of fame are outstanding figures in the history of Taekwondo.

Starting with names like Un Young Kim, father of modern Taekwondo; to Kook Hyun Jung, one of the most respected sports figures and now on of the WT politicians most respected worldwide.

Here is a review of the history of each of them:

Un Young Kim

Considered the father of modern Taekwondo, pioneer of the martial art within the Olympic schedule and the first president of WT -at the time called WTF-, Un Yong Kim will enter to the Official Hall of Fame for the Award for People who gave their lives to the development of sport award.

In addition, he was vice president of the International Olympic Committee and Kukkiwon chief executive officer. He was also Korean ambassador to Great Britain and the United States.

Kim passed away on October 3, 2017 in a Seoul hospital, his family informed to the press, adding that he died of natural causes, at the age of 86.

Juan Antonio Samaranch

He was included in the selected group for his contribution to the sport. President of the International Olympic Committee between 1980 and 2001, under his mandate Taekwondo was included in the Olympics.

“He played an outstanding role for Taekwondo to be recognized as an Olympic sport”, WT said on the press release.

Juan Antonio Samaranch died on April 21, 2010, at the Quirón Hospital in Barcelona, after several years of being with a reserved medical part.

Dai-soon Lee

Chosen on the Officers or officials in recognition of his devotion to Taekwondo award, and his dedication as vice president of WT and president of World Taekwondo Asia.

On his greatest achievements, WT highlights, are based on the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, developing relationships with the Government of Korea for the joint promotion of Taekwondo as a worldwide sport.

Lee will be the first and only member to enter the selected group in the Officials division.

When he was re-elected as president of World Taekwondo Asia in 2012, Lee said that one of his commitments was to further consolidate Taekwondo as an Olympic sport.

“I will do my best to further consolidate the status of Taekwondo as an Olympic Sport,” he said at the time through the WT Communication department.

Furthermore, in tense times, Dai-soon Lee advocated for the sport political harmony of Taekwondo in his native continent: Asia.

Kook Hyun Jung

The Korean legend will be inducted into the Official Hall of Fame for his achievements as an athlete, after winning the World Taekwondo Championships four times in a row.

His legacy started in Guayaquil 82, Copenhagen 83, Seoul 85 and Barcelona 87. Besides winning two-time Asian Championships in Manila 84 and Kathmandu 88.

After retiring as an athlete, he dedicated himself to teaching Taekwondo by training young athletes. In addition, he serves as the sports administrator of the World Taekwondo Executive Council and as Secretary General of the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation.

Zhong Chen

Nominated for her achievements as an athlete, especially for being two-times Olympic champion, in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004; The Chinese is the only woman who will enter this first time into the Official Hall of Fame.

Her record also includes four world medals from Edmonton 99, where she obtained bronze, Jeju 2001 with silver, Garmish-Partenkirchen 2003 with bronze and gold in Beijing 2007.

Chen also owns one medal for each color from the Asian Games and three golds and one silver from the Asian Championships.

Her retirement was at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she lost in the quarterfinals against Britain’s Sarah Stevenson.

By: Esteban Mora.