Taekwondo Unification Talks -- Federation Focus

Also: FIBA chooses Baumann's successor; ISSF president's donation; interview with BWF secretary general.

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(ATR) The next steps in the unification of taekwondo will be discussed on Friday and Saturday in Wuxi, China.

World Taekwondo and the International Taekwondo Federation are meeting to hash out details of an accord signed last month to create a joint organization by the end of this year to narrow their differences in governing the sport.

Among the decisions to be made are the name and short-term objectives of the joint organization.

The agreement signed last month by WT President Chungwon Choue and ITF President Yong Son Ri also called for the two sides to work together for collaborative overseas events.

A joint demonstration team will perform in Lausanne next year to mark the 25th anniversary of taekwondo becoming an Olympic sport. Previous joint performances were done by separate teams from each of the organizations.

WT Executive Deputy Secretary General Kim Eil-chul, in an interview with the Korea Times, said "Integrating the game rules and certification systems of WT and ITF will take some time. But in some areas, such as para taekwondo and freestyle poomsae, the two organizations can narrow differences relatively easily."

The meetings in Wuxi are being held around the 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series, which began on Wednesday and wraps up on Sunday.

FIBA Chooses Baumann's Replacement

The FIBA Central Board unanimously agreed to appoint Andreas Zagklis as new FIBA Secretary General, filling the role that had been vacant since the death of Patrick Baumann on October 13 in Buenos Aires.

Zagklis, 38, is promoted from Director Legal Services and General Counsel. The native of Greece was hired by FIBA in 2016 after having acted for nine years as its external legal advisor. His appointment became effective December 8.

"The mission is clear, to grow our sport throughout the world and unite the basketball community," Zagklis said in a statement. "I will serve it mindful of FIBA's values and rich history. In today’s competitive environment, we shall be modern administrators, prudent regulators and excellent event organisers in order to meet the high expectations of the basketball family, most notably our players, clubs, leagues, fans and partners."

The Central Board also decided to honor Baumann's legacy by having the FIBA headquarters carry his name.

ISSF President Contributes $10 Million to Federation

The newly elected president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has committed to contributing $10 million of his own money to establish a development fund that will not depend on the money the ISSF has received or will receive from the IOC.

Vladimir Lisin, 62, is a powerful Russian entrepreneur and chairman of one of the world’s leading steel making companies, NLMK Group. His donation, for the years 2019-2022, will be transferred to the ISSF accounts by January 10, 2019, according to the federation.

Further contributions, either financial or material, are being sought as well.

According to Lisin's plan, there will be three groups of grantees for the fund: the ISSF Member Federations that need assistance in developing the Shooting sport in their countries; the ISSF Member Federations that get Quota Places for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo; and the athletes who end the year leading the ISSF rankings.

The ISSF Executive Committee will determine the conditions for rendering assistance or establishing grants while the Development Fund will be run by the Board of Trustees.

Lisin was elected to succeed the longest-serving world sportsman in his position, the Mexican Olegario Vázquez Raña as ISSF president on November 30.

On the Record: BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund

The HSBC BWF World Tour Finals, the signature event of the badminton season, is taking place this week in Guangzhou, China.

This is the inaugural version of the World Tour Finals under a remodeling of the World Tour by the Badminton World Federation that took effect at the beginning of 2018. Only the cream of the crop qualified for the season-ending tournament, which features a total prize pool of $1.5 million.

This is the first of a four-year deal for Guangzhou to host the Finals, which were previously held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The tournament was also rebranded from the "BWF Superseries Finals" to the "HSBC WBF World Tour Finals".

Global banking company HSBC came on board as the Principal Global Partner of the BWF, meaning the company has a corporate presence across all BWF events including being the title sponsor of the annual BWF World Tour and World Tour Finals.

"The new HSBC BWF World Tour has been well-received and brought new excitement to the badminton landscape,"BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund tells Around the Rings ahead of the World Tour Finals.

For the entire interview with Lund, click here.

Written by Gerard Farek

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