The Republic of Moldova will strategically promote the Olympic sport of taekwondo nationwide, the country’s prime minister and sports minister pledged.
In a meeting on Aug. 14, 2015 in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau attended by Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet, Moldovan Youth and Sports Minister Loretta Handrabura, WTF President Chungwon Choue and Moldovan Taekwondo Federation President Igor Iuzefovici, Premier Strelet said he was committed to opening a WTF Regional Training Center by 2018.
The facility would be the first dedicated sport academy in the nation, Handrabura added.
At a subsequent press conference, also in Chisinau, Handrabura announced that taekwondo would become an optional sport in elementary schools nationwide and expressed Moldova’s interest in hosting one of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix series events in 2016.
Iuzefovici, a strong patron of taekwondo in Moldova, stated that the center would serve as an excellent training hub for neighboring countries as Moldova, at the heart of Eastern Europe, is easily accessible.
“I was deeply gratified to hear of Moldova’s ambitious plans for taekwondo from the prime minister and sports minister,” said Choue, who flew into Moldova on the first day of the 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1 in Moscow for the meetings.
“The WTF stands ready to fully support these ambitious programs, which have the potential to propel Moldova forward as a regional force in taekwondo,” Choue added.
In a kick-start to its taekwondo offensive, Moldova has already secured the services of one of taekwondo’s most prominent athletes.
With the sponsorship of Iuzefovici, Aaron Cook, formerly of Team GB and the Isle of Man, adopted Moldovan citizenship in 2015. The world-ranked number two in the highly competitive men’s -80kg division, Cook has since been representing the country and has won a quota place for Rio 2016. If successful on the mats in Rio, Cook would deliver Moldova’s first-ever Olympic medal.