Cambodia’s ITF Taekwondo Federation has announced the kingdom will be represented in an upcoming international tournament in Bulgaria.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Mr. Keo Remy, the President of Southeast Asian Taekwon-Do Federation – ITF and Chairman of the Taekwon-do Federation of Cambodia, said that Cambodia will send 17 young athletes to the competition which gets underway later this month.
The city of Plovdiv in Bulgaria will host the 14th Junior, 21st Adult and 9th Veteran World ITF Taekwon-do Championships from 24th-30th of August.
The ITF-iterant of Taekwondo is characterised as more traditional, focused on self-defense and is also often called a North Korean school of Taekwondo.
Mr. Remy has been a strong advocate for the sport in Cambodia and his latest comments come on the heels of his address at the closing ceremony of June’s Taekwondo ITF Championship at the 1st National School Games.
“Sport, and especially the training of young people, is important as without we cannot compete or win international medals for the motherland. And training children at a young age helps them to have better technique than training at a later age. We need to start early,” said Mr. Remy.
Last August, Cambodian fighters brought back silver and bronze medals from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Junior and Veteran World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
Chan Tharath garnered a silver medal after progressing through the round only to lose out to his Russian opponent in the final of the -49kg category.
Prior to the final, he was ranked number 1 in the group before defeating opponents from Estonia, Greece, Japan, Argentina, Jordan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. A further bronze also boosted the kingdom’s tally in Minsk.
The kingdom also saw much success at last May’s 9th Asian Taekwon-Do ITF Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
An official bid for inclusion of the ITF-iterant of Taekwondo in the 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games was made by the Southeast Asian Federation of ITF-Taekwondo last December.
In March 2017, during the annual meeting of Southeast Asian ITF Taekwon-do federations, Mr. Remy noted the Taekwondo Federation (ITF) would be pushing to include the sport at the 2023 Games.
The bid for inclusion garnered official support from regional neighbours Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. Latest developments resulted in an official bid for inclusion made by the Southeast Asian ITF Taekwondo Federation with an official letter addressed to Thong Khon, President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC). A final decision on inclusion is yet to be reached.
The SEA Games already hosts a WTF Taekwondo event, however, the ITF equivalent is not yet a regular on the region’s biggest sporting spectacle.