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World Taekwondo revokes Putin’s black belt, bans Russian events, flags and anthem

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 01, 2022

World Taekwondo, the international body that governs the sport of Taekwondo, has taken multiple actions to punish Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, including revoking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s honorary 9th dan black belt status.

In a statement released Monday, World Taekwondo said it “strongly condemns the brutal attacks on innocent lives in Ukraine, which go against the World Taekwondo vision of ‘Peace is More Precious than Triumph’ and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance.”

The international body announced it has decided to withdraw the honorary 9th dan black belt conferred to Putin in November of 2013.

World Taekwondo took the punishment of Russia further by banning the Russian flag from being displayed and the Russian national anthem to be played at World Taekwondo events. World Taekwondo announced similar punishments against Belarus, which facilitated Putin’s invasion by allowing Russian forces to cross its southern border with Ukraine.

In addition to banning both the flags and national anthems of Russia and Belarus at all World Taekwondo events, World Taekwondo and the European Taekwondo Union will also stop organizing or recognizing Taekwondo events in Russia and Belarus.

CBS reported Putin is one of several high-profile political leaders who have received World Taekwondo’s honorary 9th dan black belt. Other recipients include former U.S. President Barack Obama and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

World Taekwondo is actually the second international martial arts organization to strip Putin of an honorary title.

On Sunday, the International Judo Federation (IJF) announced it had suspended Putin from his role as the organization’s honorary president and ambassador. Putin has practiced both martial arts, as well as Sambo and Karate. Putin also co-authored the book “Judo: History, Theory, Practice.”

Other sports bodies have also found ways to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine last week. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced they had also suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from international competition.