Taekwondo Champ [Archives:1997/49/Sports]

December 8 1997

Speaks of Hopes & Aspirations
Taekwondo for Waddah started as a hobby in 1992 when he began training for two hours a day under the coach Mutahar Al-Adhri at Al-Wahda Club in Sanaa. “My father encouraged me immensely,” says Waddah, adding, “taekwondo is a form of self defense which must never be used against innocent people.” Due to financial reasons, his initial training sessions were rather intermittent. Many taekwondo enthusiasts in Yemen had to abandon the game for lack of financial resources and training facilities. Waddah complained that several invitations to take part in international competition went unanswered by the Yemeni sports authorities for lack of finance. “That is why I took part in very few competitions abroad.” He also indicated that the available training facilities are far below the accepted international standards. “We train on concrete or grass which puts at a disadvantage when we play on compressed plastic, we cannot move easily.” Waddah has often taken part in international or regional competitions using his own resources, and traveling unaccompanied by a doctor or a coach like other world players do. “I do it for Yemen.” Waddah achieved second position in the international championship held in Iran in 1994. “If it weren’t for my injury, I would have been able to get gold.” Waddah is honored by the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Monday, December 8th, for defeating the Kuwaiti opponent. He is also financially awarded by the ministry and the Yemen Olympic Committee. Waddah will be going to south Korea to train for six months in preparation for the world taekwondo championship to be held in July, 1998, in the Philippines.