Olympians use Taekwondo to empower young refugees in Jordan

4 | 9 | 2019

Taekwondo changed the life of China’s double Olympic Champion Wu Jingyu (Joy) OLY, who now hopes to give back to her sport and others through her humanitarian work.

“I came from a small village and when I was a child, my family was very poor. Taekwondo and the Olympics changed my life,” said Joy, who has recently returned from a visit to the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, as part of a project organised by World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, in conjunction with United World Wrestling.

“Taekwondo can enhance the lives of young refugees by empowering them and helping them build their dreams,” she added. “It can give them hope, confidence and power, especially to women and children. We wanted to let them know a lot of people really care about them and we wanted to show them that they too could use sport to help change their lives.”

Joy was joined on the trip by fellow World Taekwondo Ambassador and Rio 2016 Olympic champion, Ahmad Abughaush (Jordan) and wrestling Olympic medallists Clarissa Chun OLY (USA) and Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia), along with World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue, IOC Executive Board Member HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan and representatives of the UNHCR.

Hundreds of children took part in training sessions as part of the event, which also included the donation of sports kit and taekwondo uniforms to the refugee community. 

Joy, who was deeply moved and inspired by the experience, believes Olympians have an important role to play to bring about a more inclusive and fair society.

“Olympians are role models for youth. We have the ability to inspire and give confidence to younger generations and show them the Olympic spirit and the importance of sport and the Olympic values.”

Joy is currently training for her fourth Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 but will continue to juggle her role as an ambassador for her sport and a member of the World Taekwondo Athletes’ Commission in the lead up to the Games.