TFI pledges to qualify for London Olympics

Ranchi: Having given proper infrastructure and foreign exposure to its players, the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) today pledged to not only qualify for the 2012 London Olympic but also win medals for the country.

"Taekwondo is the toughest game among all types of martial art, and mostly played in Asian countries like South and North Korea, Thailand, Chinese-Tipei and Iran.

"If our players take part in open competitions in these countries, we can definitely qualify and win fetch medals in the London Olympic Games," T Praveen Kumar, the Secretary-General of the TFI, said here today.

Interestingly, the CISF today made enquiries about the gold medal winners of Taekwondo competition in the ongoing 34th National Games, probably to absorb a couple of them in the security agency.

"Our focus now is to participate in the World Championship and Asian Championship later this year, from where the players can qualify for the London Games.

"Efforts are also on to send about ten players to Iran for training," Kumar said.

Thanking the Union Sports Ministry for sending a dozen players to Kungi University in South Korea for training before the Asian Games in China, Kumar said, "Kungi University is the best training centre for Taekwondo. And that training stint helped the players a lot ahead of the Asian Games last year.

"Our players, who had lost in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medal winners in the Asian Games last year, can hope to bag medals in Olympics as they will be grouped with non-Asian countries," Kumar added.

In Taekwondo, both the losing semifinalists get bronze medals.

He said the game required more support from the government with provision for exclusive Taekwondo stadium and funds to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, which are in place in other Asian countries.

"We would like to have the latest equipment, which is very costly for the federation to purchase.

With government`s help we can have the equipment, costing about three lakh," he said.

"Only in Bangalore the state has provided a hall to the players to practice. But in several other states, players practice in parks and grounds, which is a distraction to them," Kumar said.