THANKS to its aggressive promotions for over four decades, the Philippine Taaekwondo Association now has 10 million full-pledged members nationwide and still growing, according to PTA secretary general Monsour del Rosario.
“This is the result of four decades of hard work. I believe that we are now the biggest National Sports Association in terms of members,” Del Rosario said yesterday, two days after the PTA held its general assembly meeting at the San Andres gym in Malate, Manila.
He said those numbers were based on the report by the PTA’s regional directors “that we have at least 800,000 members in 14 regions all over the country. So that’s easily over 10 million. And we can expect more in the years ahead.’
“The success of the PTA is something other NSAs should emulate because the association has never stopped in promoting its sport. I congratulate the PTA for being a model NSA,” noted POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, who has seen the growth of the Korean combat sport locally under the stewardship of PTA executive vice president and chief operating office Hong Chung Song.
Hong, a friend of popular American action star Chuck Norris, and PTA president Robert Aventajado introduced the sport to Filipinos 43 years ago, transforming it into a mass-based discipline with extensive grassroots development in the countryside.
A masterful and savvy promoter, Hong found poster boys and poster girls to popularize the sport over the years, among them former gymnast turned taekwodo jin Bea Lucero-Lhuillier and Del Rosario, who became a top local action movie hero.
Count SEA Games gold medalists Japoy Lizardo, now a national coach, and Pauline Louise Lopez among the “faces” of taekwondo that the PTA has used in fortifying its grip in the national sports psyche.
Since taekwondo became an Olympic medal sport in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the PTA has strived to at least qualify one of its athletes to the quadrennial sports showcase.
Hong is largely credited for setting a high bar of excellence for local taekwondo so it was a considered a huge disaster when the PTA failed to send a Pinoy bet to the 2012 London Olympics.