By Bosco Wong
KOTA KINABALU: The taekwondo administration in Sabah has formed the United Taekwondo Sabah Association (UTSA) to replace the better known United Sabah Taekwondo Association (USTA).
This is in line with the revamp at national level, following the recognition of Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the National Sports Council of Malaysia (NSC).
TM focuses on martial arts and sport.
According to UTSA president Francis Langkab, the change was made to meet the requirement set by the Sports Commission, as with effective from 2010 all sport bodies in Malaysia were required to register with the commission and no longer with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).
“Hence, we wish to inform everyone that now in Malaysia, TM is the body recognised by the WTF while UTSA is now the parent body overseeing taekwondo development in Sabah,” he said.
He went on to note that the WTF secretary-general Jean-Marie Ayer through a letter dated January 16, 2013 has confirmed that the world taekwondo governing body only recognizes TM as the member of the WTF.
And that TM is the only association in Malaysia authorised to register athletes to represent Malaysia at the international level, including, but not limited to all WTF promoted championship and Olympic qualifiers.
The WTF deputy secretary-general/legal affairs Corbin Min also issued a letter dated January 25, 2013 to authorize TM to take action to protect WTF intellectual property rights in Malaysia, said Francis.
He said restructuring exercise do not affect the former members of USTA as they could reapply their membership to join UTSA.
“So now all the upgrading test certificates including at state-level are issued by TM unlike before it was done by the state association,” he said.
In Sabah only three instructors have been given the authority to conduct the upgrading tests; they are the evergreen Barry Voon, Francis himself and Raman Anthony.
After the reorganization, he said starting January 1, 2013, TM has been given the approval by the Ministry of Education to conduct its taekwondo activities and programmes in the schools.
And effective March 1, 2013, the NSC through a letter issued by its director-general Dato’ Seri Zolkples Embong has officially recognised TM to be the sole representative for taekwondo and has asked the body to prepare its athletes for the coming Malaysian Games (Sukma), he said.
Meanwhile, Francis said UTSA will be organising few programmes in the coming months such as the referee course on April 6-7; Statewide Youth Teakwondo Championship at Likas Sports Complex on April 19-21 and the National Circuits in Kota Kinabalu in June.