KUALA LUMPUR: After being held back by years of internal bickering, the various fraternities in taekwondo have been urged to put the past behind them and unite for the sake of the sport.
This is the call by Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) president Tan Sri S. A. Vigneswaran on Sunday.
Vigneswaran said all the taekwondo exponents need to come under TM, which is the only body in Malaysia recognised by World Taekwondo (WT), as that is the only way they will be able to compete at a higher level.
"There is no problem within TM itself, the issues are because of the small fraternities outside. Before we had Malaysia Taekwondo Association (MTA), which has since been deregistered, and various other smaller bodies who registered under the Registry of Societies (RoS)," said Vigneswaran.
"Our concern is that many of these exponents (not under TM) are not able to compete at a higher level. Some of them only find out that they are not eligible to compete when they go for national level tournaments because they are not recognised (due to not being under TM).
"It is like studying at a university but then finding out your degree is not recognised.
"Taekwondo is a sport which goes all the way up to the Olympics and you need to follow the proper steps to reach that level otherwise you will just be a jaguh kampung (village champion).
"TM is the only body in Malaysia recognised by WT. To compete in international competitions you must be under a body affiliated to WT and that is TM.
"All we want is for everybody to come under TM and we will formulate a plan to do that. We have opened the doors for all to join, we are inclusive and not exclusive."
Vigneswaran added that he is optimistic the sport will return to the Sports Ministry’s Core Sports programme if unity is achieved and the sport can move forward.
"The Sports Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) has said that he has no personal issues with taekwondo, all he wants is to see taekwondo in Malaysia reach a world class level," added Vigneswaran.
"He told us that the ministry will help us in solving this (unity issue) and hopefully we will then be able to be included in the core sports programme again".
The Sports Ministry in December announced that taekwondo, sepak takraw and weightlifting had been dropped from the Core Sports programme due to various issues.