When taekwondo became a modern sport, it preserved the spirit of a two-thousand–year-old martial art, as well as its force and appeal. The World Taekwondo Federation had already promoted the discipline through international college events. The first World University Taekwondo Championship was held in 1986 at the University of California, in Berkeley, near San Francisco, on the initiative of the US University Sports Association. A close collaboration was created at that time between the Organising Committee, the Taekwondo World Federation and FISU. As a result, the high participation level was achieved at this "premiere". Korea already dominated in the number of medals, and this trend was to strengthen with time. During the 1996 edition in Saint Petersburg, Korea showed no mercy, taking 10 medals out of 16. This astonishing performance was repeated in 1998 by this country where taekwondo is an established tradition.
In Korea, taekwondo is practised from primary school through university and then via numerous clubs. However, other countries are establishing a promotional policy for this sport and are obtaining strong results. This was the case in the last edition for Taipei (China) as well as for France, which, as a complete outsider, managed nonetheless to take two gold medals. Many renowned athletes have already taken part in FISU taekwondo championships, including Canada's Jai Hoon Lee, who won gold at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. In the women's events, Spain's Elena Benitez also won gold in Barcelona, while others, such as Yu-Fang Chi (Taipei, China), Yeun Yong Lee (KOR) and Myoung Sook Jung (KOR), were striving to become world champions. Some of the great university champions of the past are coaches today, providing their support to young athletes taking part in major international competitions for the first time.
In 2000, the World University Taekwondo Championship took place in the city of Kaohsiung, in Taipei, China, and it was again a very well organised competition. An increasing number of competitors and interest of the Organising Committees of the Summer Universiades led to the inclusion of taekwondo into the optional programme of three editions of the games. The first was in Daegu in 2003, then in Izmir in 2005 and in Bangkok in 2007, where more than 300 athletes participated. Taekwondo is a very important sport in the FISU programme and close cooperation with the international federation is the main goal for FISU. The Organising Committee of the 2009 Summer Universiade in Belgrade came again with a proposition to include taekwondo into the programme of the games. The poomsae competition was included for first time at the Belgrade Summer Universiade.
The taekwondo competitions shall be organised in accordance with the most recent technical regulations of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). In any dispute, the English text shall be regarded as authoritative.
The programme and duration of competitions are fixed by the Executive Committee in agreement with the Organising Committee and the CTI. The competitions shall last seven (7) days and include: Kyorugi Competetion and Poomsae Competetion.
(Photo by New China News Agency)