A breakthrough agreement between two international bodies of taekwondo will allow North Korean athletes to compete in the martial art at the Summer Olympics, officials said.
The Seoul-based World Taekwondo Federation and the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation reached a memorandum last Thursday in Nanjing, China, during the Youth Olympic Games, the WTF announced on its website.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, witnessed the signing of the agreement between the WTF chief Choue Chung-won of South Korea and the ITF president Chang Ung of North Korea, the WTF added.
Currently, the WTF is the only global taekwondo body sanctioned by the IOC, thus only the athletes of countries recognized by the WTF are allowed to compete in the Olympics.
The ITF, which is not recognized by the IOC, has been unable to compete in the Olympics.
Its federation rules also differ from the WTF’s.
Under the recent agreement, athletes registered to the WTF and ITF will be free to compete in each other’s competitions under the rules of each organization.
The two organizations have been in talks for such an agreement since last year. In September 2013, Choue had told reporters he expected to reach a deal with the ITF sometime during 2014.
“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with the ITF. We are always looking at ways to develop and evolve taekwondo for the benefit of athletes and fans and opening up our relationship with the ITF is a key way of doing this,” Choue was quoted as saying on the WTF’s website. (Yonhap)