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ITF president calls for taekwondo bodies to join forces

Ri Yong-son, the president of the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), has suggested that his organisation should join forces with rival governing body, World Taekwondo.

The North Korean ITF chief said during a visit to South Korea for a series of demonstration events hosted by the organisation that there had been talks between the two parties, which edged closer together in August 2014 through a ‘protocol of accord’.

“That’s why I am here,” Ri told reporters in Seoul, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. “Taekwondo is one, and (the ITF and World Taekwondo) should become one quickly. The door is open and all we have to do is walk through it.”

The ITF, which has different rules to World Taekwondo, has visited the South Korean cities of Muju and Jeonju in recent days, as well as Seoul. The 2017 World Taekwondo Championships, currently taking place in Muju, will conclude tomorrow (Friday).

Before the championships’ opening ceremony on Saturday, World Taekwondo president Chungwon Choue, from South Korea, said that the two organisations had never discussed a merger. Under the protocol of accord agreed nearly three years ago, the two organisations must mutually respect each other.

World Taekwondo, which is headquartered in Seoul, is considered the internationally-recognised governing body for the sport. The ITF is based in Vienna, Austria.