BELGRADE - Eight South African taekwondo athletes have registered to take part in the yearly Korea Open, which gets under way in Seoul on Saturday.
Master Cho Jung Hyum, the South African taekwondo head coach, said the tournament formed part of their initial preparations for the 2010 London Olympics. The tournament will run for two weeks.
Duncan Mahlangu, the first South African taekwondo athlete at the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens, Greece, tops the list of athletes who will take part in the event.
Mahlangu, who is from Mmakau village in North West, is already in South Korea, where he has made a name for himself as one of the sport's most promising fighters.
The other members of the team are Alpheus Mkhonza, Yeng Feng Wu, Yu-Tai Wu, Johanna Sekgweiea, Jennifer Buskees, Keikokaditse Waid and Elvis Marais.
"The interest in taekwondo in South Africa is growing in leaps and bounds, especially at the universities. Duncan's successes locally and internationally helped us a great deal," said Master Cho, who is also in charge of Team South Africa's taekwondo squad at the 25th World Student Games.
"We are seeing more young women and men showing interest in taekwondo, which is great for us as a federation."
Cho was recruited from South Korea by the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee.
Godfrey Mokoboto, the president of Taekwondo South Africa, said: "We are all looking forward to the tournament in Korea, where Duncan did very well to win a gold medal last year. The support of the Korean government and Master Cho is highly appreciated."