Black Belt for Bach IOC head awarded honarary 10th dan



International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was made an honorary 10th Dan black belt in the martial art of taekwondo on Aug. 19, 2015, during a visit to the headquarters of the sport’s world governing body.
The IOC chief was personally awarded the belt by World Taekwondo Federation President Chungwon Choue.
“Thank you very much for the honor of the 10th Dan black belt,” Bach said – adding with a joke, “After I was informed of it, I started practicing!”
“There have only been three people in the world awarded the 10th Dan,” Choue said. “Former IOC Presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge, as well as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.”
Attired in a taekwondo uniform, Bach then smashed a board with a punch before the awarding ceremony.
The IOC president had been greeted at the entrance to the WTF headquarters – opposite the West Gate of Seoul’s medieval Gyeongbok Palace – by uniformed members of the WTF Demonstration Team.
He then held a round-table discussion between himself, Choue and officials including IOC Member and Chair of the IOC Coordination Committee for PyeongChang Gunilla Lindberg, IOC Protocol Chief Marina Baramia, IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper as well as WTF Secretary General Hoss Rafaty, WTF Council Member and Russian Taekwondo Union President Anatoly Terekhov and Korean Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chong Kim.
During the meeting, taekwondo’s preparations for the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the spread of taekwondo worldwide and an upcoming initiative by the WTF, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, which will teach taekwondo at refugee camps, were all discussed.
Bach was particularly interested in the status of female and Muslim athletes in the sport. In the 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1, which had concluded in Moscow on August 16, two Muslim female athletes – Turkey’s Nafia Kus and Iran’s Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin– had won gold medals.
The IOC president and his delegation were on a two-day visit to Korea. Before their courtesy call to the WTF headquarters, they had met Korean President Park Geun-hye at the nearby presidential residence, the Blue House, to discuss progress on the upcoming 2018 PyeongyChang Winter Olympics.