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For many years the African continent was a bit player in the fortunes of the ITF. There were a few smatterings of schools across the continent but this stagnant phase has long been left behind and the International Taekwon Do Federation has now become a dynamic force which is actively growing throughout Africa. The Africa Project has become one of the great interests of President Choi who has personally set up structures within the ITF which has greatly aided the ITF practitioners across the continent.  In 2002 there was one INO in Africa (South Africa), now there are 15 INOs and more will follow in the next year. The Africa Project was initiated by Mr. Don Dalton at the behest of President Choi in 2004. President Choi Jung Hwa has stated that the Africa Project is one of the most important works of the International Taekwon-Do Federation. The desire to spread the ITF throughout Africa was indeed one of General Chois last wishes.

The Africa Project continued in early 2008 with another trip to Ghana (the third ITF trip there in the last three years). The Irish delegation was the first to arrive. This group was headed by the ITF Expansion Committee Chairman, Master Don Dalton and also included Ms. Patricia Dalton (5th Dan), and Team Europe Competitors Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon (5th Dan) and Mr. David O Sullivan. Later in the evening some of the UK members arrived including Master Ray Gayle, Master Mark Ogbourne and Mr. Kevin McCabe (4th Dan). The final group to arrive was headed by ITF Secretary General Master Trevor Nicholls (8th Dan) and included ITF Team Europe member Mr. Lee Hollingsworth (5th Dan). The week long event was organised by ITF Ghana President Mr. Mohammed Mahadi (4th Dan). During this time the Ghanaian ITF members had the chance to train in numerous classes instructed by the seniors and Masters. These sessions included fundamental movements, patterns including Chon Ji to Ge Baek and free sparring techniques. The final weekend included a special ITF Ghana Demonstration evening. This included the inaugural ITF Ghana League sparring event as well as board breaking and an acrobatic self defence demonstration. The following day featured three major events and was the culmination of the week. First there was a special training session conducted by Master Nicholls (assisted by Mr. Hollingsworth). This was followed by a team challenge between Ghana and neighbouring Togo. The event ended in a draw after four close fought bouts. Ghana was to emerge victorious in the sudden death match however to the delight of the home crowd. The final event was the Intercontinental Cup between Africa (coached by Mr. Mahadi) and Europe. This event was won by Team Europe in a hard fought and friendly match. Later that evening the European delegation had the opportunity to attend the Quarter Final of the Africa Cup of Nations football competition between Ghana and Nigeria. It was an unforgettable week and another great success for the ITF in Africa.

Written by: S. Fitzgibbon - 19th June 2008
[Comments: 2]

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Article Feedback:

Christopher Reid (Canadian Elite Taekwon-Do) : 23rd June 2008, 16:14

Simply fantastic work!
Jon Mackey (East Coast TKD) : 19th June 2008, 12:22

Great work all together!
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