Lebanon reaped massive victory on the first day of the fourth annual Beirut Open Taekwondo Tournament, organized by the Lebanese Taekwondo Federation, under the auspices of the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Aoun, and under the supervision of the International Federation, held at the Nohad Nawfal Complex Stadium in Zouk Mikael.
Twenty countries are partaking in the tournament, namely Lebanon, Turkey, Congo, Ivory Coast, Iran, India, Greece, Libya, Iraq, Lesotho, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Syria and Oman.
The grand opening ceremony was held in the presence of a large audience, led by Caretaker Tourism Minister Walid Nassar, representing the President of the Republic; Olympic Committee Head Pierre Galakh; Attorney Ibrahim Al-Shweiri, representing the Caretaker Youth and Sports Minister; Colonel Fadi Stephan, representing the Army Commander; Major Walid Tannouri, representing the Director-General of the Internal Security Forces; Major Dimitri Saqr, representing the Director-General of Public Security; Major Labib Saad, representing the Director-General of State Security; members of the Olympic Committee; ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps led by South Korean Ambassador to Lebanon Il Park; President of the Arab Taekwondo Federation Idris Al-Hilali and members of the Arab Federation; Observer of the International Taekwondo Federation Othman Deldar; heads of delegations, heads and members of Lebanese sports federations, Taekwondo players, and members of the press.
In his opening word, Minister Nassar said: “I would like to welcome the International Taekwondo Federation, its delegate, the president and members of the Arab Federation and the participating delegations. I warmly congratulate the Lebanese Taekwondo Federation for its good organization and for hosting this international championship and the Arab championship.”
Nassar affirmed that “the participation of twenty countries in the championship is nothing but the best proof that Lebanon is a country that is safe, stable and open to its Arab neighbors and the brotherly Arab countries, as well as the countries of the entire world,” adding that “work is underway today to stabilize it economically and politically, as it is a country entitled to attract international tournaments in various fields and sports, tourism, entertainment and cultural sectors to restore its presence and active position in the region and the world.”
“On behalf of His Excellency the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, I announce the opening of the tournament, wishing all participants brilliance and victory, and that Lebanon would remain as it has always been, the land of convergence for all countries and a focal point for international activities, as it proved that it is always ready and present, despite all the difficult circumstances to host this tournament and all similar tournaments with constant success.”,” Nassar concluded his welcoming address.
A commemorative shield was then presented to the Tourism Minister by President of the Lebanese Taekwondo Federation, Dr. Habib Zarifa.
Prior to the start of the competitions, the South Korean battalion operating within the United Nations forces in southern Lebanon also presented a show that won the admiration of the audience.