Manipulação de resultados nas lutas do Taekwondo olímpico

por Eduardo Godoi

Prezados Leitores

Em sua edição de abril de 2002, a revista coreana Shin Dong-A Monthly Magazine, publicou uma entrevista dada ao reporter Sung-Chul Yook pelo Mestre Chong Woo Lee, então Vice-Presidente do Kukkiwon (quartel general da World Taekwondo Federation), que confessou o seu envolvimento direto na manipulação de resultados nas disputas do Taekwondo olímpico nos jogos de Sydney (2000), explicando como parte dos Árbitros eram orientados para favorecerem os atletas da Coréia do Sul. Além do trecho copiado abaixo, que aborda este tema, vale a pena ler a entrevista inteira (“clicando” no nome da revista, em destaque, acima), onde o Mestre Chong Woo Lee fala sobre a “guerra fria” travada entre o General Choi Hong Hi (então Presidente da ITF) e Kim Un Yong (então Presidente da WTF) pela liderança do Taekown-Do mundial e  sobre os estágios iniciais do desenvolvimento desta arte marcial a partir do Karate Shotokan.

É possível ainda o "fair play" ?

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“At that time, as the Vice-President of the World Taekwondo Federation, I was responsible for all technical matters for the Taekwondo competition. When we assigned referees prior to the competition, I was the one who decided most of all who was to be assigned or not assigned [for each match]. I could not openly ask judges to take care of Korea, could I? So when I hit the judges’ backs, some were sensitive enough to understand what it meant, while the insensitive ones did not understand at all. I could not ask them to look after [Korean athletes], [I could only tell] them to be fair, however when Korea was defeated, I could not help but change my attitude. Then, I shouted to them, ‘What made you judge that way’.”

[Reporter’s Question]: Do you mean to say you made an effort to ensure that Korean athletes perform their best and receive fair judging? If not…

Page 296, Shin Dong-A, April 2002

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “That is correct. When they were told, ‘Be fair’, they read my intention and sensed it. I was in charge of this kind of manipulation and I carried it out. Without it, we could not have taken any more than one or two gold medals. That sort of thing was accepted and worked out because we were Korean, not from other countries.”

[Reporter’s Question]: I watched all three final matches where Korean players fought, and based on what I observed, I believe that all three Korean athletes won.

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “Only watching the final match would not be enough. In order to understand it as a whole, you have to pay very careful attention beginning with the first match. In this sense, it is not that simple. There are so-called tactics. That is, you kill the strong opponent beforehand. We are not the ones who kill [athletes]. The judges do. When you tell judges to do their job fairly, they know what to do and they do it. From the beginning of the preliminary games, you have to perform ‘gagee-chigee’ [branch trimming]. If not, at the end you will be in trouble.”

“There is no such thing as Fair Play”

[Reporter’s Comment]: Vice-President Lee uttered the words, ‘gagee-chigee’ [branch trimming]. As a major method of manipulating results, it refers to the handy method of eliminating potential rivals at an early stage. For example, if there is athlete ‘A’ who might be strong against a Korean athlete, by eliminating ‘A’ in the preliminary contest, you are helping the Korean win. In the sports community, during the time of the ‘86 Seoul Asian Games and the 88 Seoul Olympics, there were many rumors that the ‘branch trimming’ method was being used in competitive combat sports. However, there had been no official admission of any instances.

[Reporter’s Question]: In 2001, this was an issue at the time of the national team trials and the World Taekwondo Championships as well. My understanding is that some judges made unfavorable decisions for athletes from certain schools.

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “Out of their carelessness. Shallow [without skill] tactics do not work. The way they did it was certainly detected.”

[Reporter’s Question]: Do you mean that ‘branch trimming’ is inevitable in order for Korea to retain its reputation as the strong Taekwondo country?

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “Yes, I do. If a formidable person goes out as a judge, it is difficult to do it the way we want. It is also difficult to kill the Korean athlete’s opponent at the final match. Therefore, from the beginning, you should have a good grasp as to which country is strong. Assigning judges is a skill. That is, so and so country will be in the competition. So and so country should not get into the finals. Therefore, so and so should be killed this way.”

[Reporter’s Question]: From the point of view that Taekwondo is a sport which puts its emphasis on courtesy, isn’t that ‘tree trimming’ unjust behavior contrary to good sportsmanship?

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “When judges play tricks, the outcome of a match is reversed. If a judge says he did not see [a point], that is the end of it, and he can make repeated deductions of points. For this reason, I did this (Moves his hand horizontally across his throat) to one of the judges. He was the one who caused the defeat of a female Korean athlete, by giving her a deduction. I gathered the judges together and instructed

them absolutely not to call deduction of points, but to give a ‘choui’ [pre-warning] for the first and second time, and then a ‘kyungo’ warning for the third one. In spite of my instructions, he made deductions. After the match, I shouted at him, ‘You cannot do that! Do you have a problem?’ After this match, the attitudes of the judges changed completely.”

Page 297, Shin Dong-A, April 2002 Kukkiwon Vice President Chong Woo Lee on

Taekwondo’s Past’ and A Shocking Confession!

[Reporter’s Question]: ‘Critically speaking, it seems to me that ‘gagee-chigee’ [branch trimming] is a precise way to manipulate results’.

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “If this was disclosed openly, it would be a disgrace for Korea. But this is a reality. For example, if there were a final match between two strong competitors representing Korea and Germany, we would not make Germany lose in the final. If we perceived that the Korean athlete would have the disadvantage in a match against the German, we would ‘kill’ this German athlete before he reached the final.”

[Reporter’s Question]: I don’t think that’s fair. Upon hearing these words of the Vice-President, I am worried that Korea might cause some misunderstandings about the way Korea is maintaining a good reputation as a strong power in Taekwondo through the use of result manipulation.

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “This is related to the national interest. This is a sensitive issue. When Korean Taekwondo is destroyed, there will be chaos and then athletes’ spirit will fall to the ground. Foreign athletes’ skills have improved drastically. This [result manipulation] has been possible, because Korea has dominated the leadership. Sung Dong Kim in short track [Salt Lake City Olympic Games] is the same case as this. There is no fair play.”

[Reporter’s Question]: Do you mean that in almost all the international games including the Olympics, this sort of unwritten rule is applied?

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “Yes, a country that holds dominant leadership is always a strong country [in that sport’s standings].”

[Reporter’s Comment]: In sports, the theory of the strong nation holds true. During the 1992 Barcelona Olympiad, the competition chart turned out to be unfavorable to Japanese athletes. They redid the chart. Again, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, a gold medal was placed around a Korean boxer’s neck after an unsatisfactory performance. That is not all. In Korean wrestling matches, bunches of ghost (bogus) players are registered in the competition schedule chart. Moreover, we hear that regardless of the sport, there are many stories of judges being bribed. It is common sense that in the category of ball games, the interests of the strong nations are reflected in the choice of competition site, time, competition schedule chart and judge assignments. Sportsmanship is an important factor in enhancing the appeal of sports, but factors outside the competition have a constant influence on the outcome of the competition.

[Reporter’s Question]: It is known that Japanese Judo, [as the originator of the sport] takes advantage. Mr. Vice-President, if you hold a high position, do you think you are entitled to exercise this level of privilege to that extent?

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “I don’t think I am entitled to do it completely. The point is we have to revive our national spirit. When we take home gold medals from the Olympics and international competitions, our national morale is greatly increased. If this story is going to be put on the Internet . . .”

[Reporter’s Question]: What is your estimate of how many gold medals our Taekwondo would be awarded if we competed fairly without  privilege?

[Chong Woo Lee’s Response]: “We would reap half, at the most. If not, up to 40 percent. Out of ten weight divisions, we could hope for 4, and 6 would go to other countries. You could count on three out of ten.”

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Bons dias !!!

Boosabum Eduardo Godoi (3o. Dan)

Ch’ang Hon Ryu Taekwon-Do Brasil
Academia Shaolin – Louveira – SP
Rua Armando Steck, 294 – sala 2 – Centro

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