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ITF’s Thoroughbreds Return to Sri Lanka
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ITF’s Thoroughbreds Return to Sri Lanka
 
Earlier this year, the ITF Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do school sent a team to Sri Lanka, as a follow up to their humanitarian visit shortly after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
 
Members went across to donate goods, school book sand materials and money raised through local fundraising activities amongst Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do members and schools, and also to deliver aid a goodwill to refugee camps, schools and temples across the country.
 
Thoroughbred members attended from Melton (Vic), Wollongong (NSW) and Bundaberg (Qld) branches, and spent one week experiencing the incredible hospitality and diverse culture of the Sri Lankan people. For most on the trip, it was their first venture overseas, and an incredible learning and humbling experience for them.
 
The regular visits from Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do members over the past 12 months were the initiative of their Chief Instructor, and United ITF President, Michael Muleta. He has visited Sri Lanka on 4 occasions since the Tsunami tragedy, in what initially was a fundraising distribution visit, has now grown to regular contributions to initiatives and programs to aid victims still affected by the disaster.
 
Over the past 12 months, Mr Muleta has worked to establish the International Taekwon-Do Federation in Sri Lanka, which has since gained Government recognition in that country. Sri Lanka ITF President, Mr. Dilshan Fernando works very closely with Mr Muleta on many projects in Sri Lanka, not limited to their ITF Taekwon-Do connection.
 
Together they have developed education programs in the country, and Mr Fernando was the driving force behind the building projects for refugees, which involved the construction and donation of over 100 homes to displaced families – a cause supported by the Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do schools.

Special mention should be made to the Robertson family, Thoroughbred members from the Illawarra region, who worked very hard fundraising and running cookie drives to raise money to bring to Sri Lanka. Also, the Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do club in Wollongong donated a significant amount of money through fundraising organized by their instructor Mr. David Southern.
 
The Thoroughbred Taekwon-do school is presently raising funds to provide a teacher for the Moratuwa refugee camp, where the children have had no access to school or education in any form, even by correspondence, for the past 18 months, since the Tsunami. Any other clubs who want to get involved in the effort and most worthy humanitarian cause are welcome to contact Michael Muleta by email, uniteditfaustralia@yahoo.com
 
‘I can certainly recommend the visit to anyone who wants to experience a different culture, and witness first hand the prolonged impact that the Tsunami has had on many thousands of lives. So much has been done yet so little at the same time. In addition to the goodwill and positive contribution you can make to the lives of others, it also tests your own faith and forces you to look at tour own life and set of values – for me, it certainly has been a revelation and something that has changed my life,’ Muleta said.
 
‘Sri Lanka is a land of contrasts, it has very beautiful landmarks, attractions and the people and culture is very friendly and hospitable, whilst on the other hand they obviously have had their domestic problems with politics and terrorism. Personally, I’ve grown to love Sri Lanka and it’s people. I have my own daily routine there, starting each day with an hour long walks along the beautiful Galle Face promenade, then a workout in the hotel gym, followed by gorging myself at the hotel breakfast buffet – that sets me up for the day, and it’s off to work, to see how we can make a difference and contribution,’ he says. ‘I cannot fault the hospitality and generosity of the Sri Lankan people, and I have been very well treated each time.’
 
Mr Muleta visits Sri Lanka almost every 3 months, and will return immediately following the ITF World Championships, which he is hosting and organizing in Geelong, Victoria in September (14th – 17th) this year. Certainly no slowing down in an incredibly hectic schedule, which see him hold down a full time Physical Education and Health Director’s position in a Melbourne Grammar School, being the Managing Director of a Registered Training Organization (RTO) specializing in Sports Coaching and Fitness Instruction (Global Fitness Institute), running the chain of 20+ affiliated Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do schools, including his own 7-day per week full time dojang, being both the President and Director of Tournaments/ Umpiring for United ITF Taekwon-Do Australia, running an ITF clothing and equipment company (TKO Enterprizes) and helping his wife raise 3 pre-school children.
 
In 2006 alone, he has hosted and Organized the ITF Victorian Championships, ITF Australian Championships, the Sri Lanka Humanitarian Seminar, an ITF International Umpiring Course, Junior World Championship selection trials, Senior world Championship selection trials…..and by the time this hits the shelves, the ITF Junior World Championships and the Australasian Championships.
 
Michael Muleta was honoured earlier in the year to be officially awarded and recognized by the International Taekwon-Do Federation Outstanding Achievement in Taekwon-Do through his humanitarian efforts in Sri Lanka.

Written by: Mr Michael Muleta - 9th August 2006

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