The World Taekwondo Federation has stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin of his honorary black belt. This move has been made in response to his invasion of Ukraine. The taekwondo body has also said that they would not play the anthems or display the flags of Russia and Belarus at any of its upcoming events.
Putin had been awarded a 9th dan black belt by ChoueChung-won, president of the World Taekwondo Federation, during a November 2013 visit to South Korea, when he had also been conferred a grandmaster of taekwondo title.
On February 27, the International Judo Federation (IJF) had also announced that they were suspending Russian president Vladimir Putin as honorary president and ambassador, owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin has been the honorary president of the IJF since 2008, and was once praised by the IJF president as “the perfect ambassador for our sport”.
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In a press release, the World Taekwondo Federation said that it “strongly condemns the brutal attacks on innocent lives in Ukraine, which go against the World Taekwondo vision of ‘Peace is More Precious than Triumph’ and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance.
“In solidarity with the International Olympic Committee, no Russian or Belarusian national flags or anthems will be displayed or played at World Taekwondo events. World Taekwondo and the European Taekwondo Union will not organise or recognise Taekwondo events in Russia and Belarus.
“World Taekwondo’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we hope for a peaceful and immediate end to this war.”
Former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, former South Korea president Lee Myung-bak and other world leaders, including those from Indonesia, Spain, Pakistan, Croatia, and Honduras have been conferred honorary black belts by the World Taekwondo Federation.