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EXPLAINER: Taekwondo at Tokyo Olympics

/ 06:26 PM July 07, 2021

Things to know about the taekwondo competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

THE ABSOLUTE BASICS

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  • Taekwondo is a full-contact combat sport developed in Korea that means “the way of kicking and punching.”
  • Athletes, called taekwondoin, compete in three 2-minute rounds per match.
  • 1 to 5 points are awarded for each strike to the torso or head, depending on the difficulty of the technique.
  • Sensors inside the protective gear worn by athletes help with scoring.

HOW MANY MEDALS?

Eight gold medals are up for grabs across four weight categories each for men (-58kg, -68kg, -80kg, +80kg) and women (-49kg, -57kg, -67kg, +67kg).

WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?

South Korea's Oh Hyeri celebrates after winning the women’s taekwondo gold medal bout in the -67kg category as part of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 19, 2016, at the Carioca Arena 3, in Rio de Janeiro

South Korea’s Oh Hyeri celebrates after winning the women’s taekwondo gold medal bout in the -67kg category as part of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 19, 2016, at the Carioca Arena 3, in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Ed Jones / AFP)

Jordan and Ivory Coast won their first-ever Olympic gold medals, in taekwondo. South Korea retook its top spot in the medal rankings, with two golds and three bronzes.

FEATURED STORIES

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?

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Britain’s Jade Jones will be looking to make history by winning a third Olympic gold medal in the -57kg women’s category.

Kurt Barbosa is lone Filipino jin to make it to the Tokyo Summer Games.

WHAT’S NEW?

A 4D camera will be set up, providing 360-degree views of the action.

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

July 24 to 27.

WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?

Brazil's Talisca Reis (blue) and China's Yuntao Wenren (red) fight in the women's under 49kg semi-final of the Ready Steady Tokyo taekwondo, a test event ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe International Confrence Hall A, venue for taekwondo and wrestling competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,

A test event ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe International Confrence Hall A, venue for taekwondo and wrestling competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Chiba on September 27, 2019. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP)

Makuhari Messe, a convention center in Chiba city, near Tokyo.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Taekwondo became dominant as a martial art form in Korea during the early 1900s. Its first two appearances at the Summer Olympics in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992) were as an exhibition sport. It became a formal medal event at Sydney 2000 and has maintained that status ever since.

WELL FANCY THAT

In 2017, the sport’s world governing body officially changed its name to World Taekwondo (WT) from World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) citing the negative connotations associated with the initials that had been used since 1973.

RELATED STORIES

Taekwondo: Korean combat sport looks to put best foot forward

A good spanking propels Barbosa to Olympic stint

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TAGS: Kurt Barbosa, South Korea, Tokyo 2020 explainer, Tokyo Olympics
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