Meeting with Olympic Council President
On Sunday March 4th 2012 Master Kenneth Wheatley in his capacity as Chairperson of the IMAC, Irish Martial arts Commission, was invited to the official opening of the Kick-boxing Ireland Open Championships. This tournament is now one of the biggest fight tournaments in the world with over 2,400 competitors and was held at the City West Conference Centre in Dublin. The event was officiated by the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport, Minister Leo Varadkar and The President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, as well as President of the European Olympic Council (EOC) Mr Patrick (Pat) Hickey and the President of IMAC Mr Brendan Dowling.
Following the official opening ceremony Mr Roy Baker, the host and a very prominent member of the IMAC, invited the group to retire to a private lounge for a coffee and an opportunity to discuss various aspects of martial arts and the evolution and continued growth of martial arts here in Ireland. This was a welcome opportunity to discuss and share the concerns of the martial arts community with Minister Varadkar and indeed he was found to be both receptive and understanding of the passion, drive and motivation shared by all present. Following our discussions the Minister took the opportunity to view the tournament whilst in progress.
During his time with Mr Hickey, who is the most senior IOC official in Europe and holds a 2nd Dan in Judo, Master Wheatley welcomed the opportunity to explain some of the differences between the WTF, which Mr Hickey was familiar with, and our ITF, the evolution, growth and vision of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, both in the past 10 years and the future. The international progress and successes of the Irish Taekwon-Do team were shared and Mr Hickey was very keen to gain as much knowledge as possible about the ITF and the presence of the other Taekwon-Do bodies led by Chang Ung and Master Choi Jung Hwa.
Master Wheatley commented that “It was indeed a morning well spent and a fantastic opportunity to share our passion for our Taekwon-Do with such prominent persons within sport here in Ireland”.Stephen Ryan