Thailand says no to North Korean martial art at SEA Games

Photo by Nation Thailand, edited.

Thailand is saying no to a North Korean martial art that will be included at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. Cambodia has said that North Korean-style taekwondo is one of the 39 sports that will be featured at the Games.

The vice president of the Olympic Committee of Thailand has said that Thailand will not send any athletes to compete in this sport. The VP, Chaipak Siriwat, said that it is up to other countries to decide whether or not they will send athletes to compete in this style of taekwondo.

But there’s a bit of a catch to this “choice.” Chaipak warned that World Taekwondo would ban nations from the 2022 Asian Games if they sent athletes to compete in the category of taekwondo that North Korean-style taekwondo will likely be listed under.

North Korean-style taekwondo will likely be listed under International Taekwondo Federation rules. ITF taekwondo is geared more towards self-defence, while WT taekwondo is geared more towards sparring. ITF taekwondo has never been included in the SEA Games, Asian Games, or Olympics.

If WT does what Chaipak is warning it will, and bans countries that send athletes to compete in ITF Taekwondo, then athletes don’t have a choice to compete in the sport. Too bad for any athletes who were eager to compete in a sport from an authoritarian dictatorship.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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