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In 1955 a group of Korean martial arts leaders chose taekwondo as the definitive Korean martial art in an attempt to promote its development internationally.

Taekwondo was featured on the programme of the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Olympics as a demonstration sport and by Sydney 2000 it had been accepted as an Olympic sport.

The Korean government had already recognised the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) as the legitimate governing body of the sport, in 1973, and the first World Championships were held in that year.

Taekwondo - Olympic Competition

There are four weight classes each for men and women in Olympic Taekwondo; half the number used in World Championships.

A single-elimination tournament is used to decide the gold and silver medals.

Bronze Medal

The competitors defeated by the two finalists get another chance, in a second bracket, to compete for the bronze; with the two losing semi-finalists moving directly into the semi-finals of that bracket.

All the others who lost to the two finalists, compete in single elimination within their original pools. Each pool's winner then faces the losing semi-finalist from the opposite pool, and the two winners compete for the bronze.


Contests are scored by awarding a point for each legitimate blow and deducting a point for each penalty.

Five to seven points with one deduction is typical.

Men Women
over 80kg
under 58kg
over 67kg
under 49kg

Taekwondo - Olympic Greats

Kyong-Hun Kim became the first heavyweight taekwondo Olympic champion; beating local Australian hero Daniel Trenton at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

In the words of Sun Hee Lee; "It's not the strongest who becomes the winner; it's the one who beats the strongest."

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Taekwondo Links

4th Fl., JoYang Building 113, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
The World Taekwondo Federation.

Regional Taekwondo Unions

African Taekwondo Union: (AFTU)
64 Ramsis Extention St, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

Asian Taekwondo Union: (ATU)
While the first Asian Taekwondo Championships were held in 1974, the Asian Taekwondo Union was not officially launched until 1976.

European Taekwondo Union: (ETU)
Founded on May 2nd, 1976, the first participating countries were: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Oceania Taekwondo Union: (OTU)
As the fifth regional taekwondo body of the World Taekwondo Federation, the Oceania Taekwondo Union was established on July 16th, 2005, in Sydney, Australia.

Pan American Taekwondo Union: (PATU)
Encompasses the entire western hemisphere, from the North Pole to the South, with a total of 42 member nations.

Further Reading



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