Members of a regional taekwondo association from Seoul are on a five-day visit in Changhua County to help local taekwondo athletes gain experience in the martial art, a county official said yesterday.
The South Korean visitors were invited by Changhua County’s taekwondo association, which was established only last year, to help the county promote the sport among local residents.
Changhua County Deputy Commissioner Chang Juei-bin (張瑞濱) greeted the South Koreans on Tuesday and expressed the hope that their visit would enrich both sides’ taekwondo techniques and knowledge.
South Korea, where taekwondo originated, remains the world powerhouse in the martial art, but it faces increasing competition because of the growth of the sport’s popularity worldwide.
Taekwondo has seen impressive growth in Taiwan, Chang said, adding that the sport that was once a staple of military training has now become common as a discipline in physical education courses and as an extracurricular activity.
He said Taiwanese taekwondo athletes have performed well on the international stage. Of the five medals Taiwan won at the Athens Olympics in 2004, two gold and a silver came in taekwondo, and Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣) became the first local athlete to win Olympic gold when she emerged victorious in the women’s under-49kg category.
While Chen has since retired from competition, the other gold medal winner in 2004, Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎), hopes to defend his Olympic title at the Beijing Games in August.