‘Let’s crown a world champion’…taekwondo stars ‘converge’ on Azerbaijan

After a six-month hiatus, taekwondo stars from around the world will gather in Azerbaijan to compete for the title of ‘World Champion’.

The 2023 World Taekwondo Championships, organised by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, for a week from 29 November to 4 December.

Starting with the WTF’s 50th Anniversary Gala Awards on the 27th, Azerbaijan’s Independence Day, athletes from around the world will compete in earnest on the 29th after completing preliminary activities such as weigh-ins.메이저사이트

The World Taekwondo Championships were originally held every two years, but due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the event was only able to continue in Guadalajara, Mexico, in November last year, three years after the 2019 edition in Manchester, England.

More than 950 athletes from 143 countries will compete in Baku in just over six months.

Of particular note will be the presence of 14 Russian and nine Belarusian athletes competing as individual neutrals, who were banned from international competition following the invasion of Ukraine.

In accordance with a WT Executive Board decision made earlier this month, athletes will only be allowed to compete if they have passed a three-stage verification process by the Eligibility Review Commission and have signed a local pledge to comply with the conditions of participation.

Athletes with ties to their country’s military or intelligence services, or who have declared support for war against Ukraine, will not be allowed to compete.

In addition to the Russian and Belarusian athletes, 13 refugee teams will be represented at the Games.

Among them is Yaha Algotani, who will be competing on the world stage for the first time from Azraq, a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.

Unlike the Olympic Games, which are divided into eight weight classes, four for men and four for women, the World Championships will be held in 16 weight classes, eight for men and eight for women.

Korea, the dominant taekwondo nation, will be represented in the men’s competition by Park Tae-joon (Kyung Hee University) at 54kg, Bae Joon-seo (Ganghwa County Office) at 58kg, Kim Tae-yong (Daejeon Metropolitan City Hall) at 63kg, Jin Ho-joon (Suwon City Hall) at 68kg, Kang Jae-kwon at 74kg, Park Woo-hyuk (Samsung S-One) at 80kg, Kang Sang-hyun (Korea Gymnastics) at 87kg and Bae Yoon-min (Korea Gas Corporation) at super 87kg.

In the women’s category, Kang Mir (46kg), Kang Bora (49kg), Lee In-wan (53kg), Lee Hannah (57kg), Nam Min-seo (62kg), Hong Hyo-rim (67kg), Lee Da-bin (73kg), and Song Da-bin (73kg) will compete under the Taeguk mark.

Kang Bora and Kang Mir, who became the first sisters in Korean taekwondo history to compete together at a World Championships at the last edition, will be competing side by side.

Last November in Guadalajara, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals and will be looking to go one better this time around.

Park Woo-hyuk, who won the men’s 80kg (welterweight) gold medal for Korea 23 years after Jang Jong-oh in Edmonton, Canada, in 1999, is aiming for a second consecutive title.

Joining Park at his third consecutive World Championships will be Korean women’s taekwondo icon Lee Da-bin, who missed out on gold at the last edition due to injury.

Lee won gold in the women’s 73kg category in Manchester, England, in 2019, and last year she battled back from a broken finger to take silver.

In addition to the competition, there will also be a challenge from retired taekwondo star Lee Dae-hoon.

Elections for the WTF Athletes’ Commission will be held simultaneously locally from the 28th to the 3rd of next month.

A total of six Athletes’ Commissioners will be elected for a four-year term. Competing athletes will vote for male and female candidates, with Lee standing in the men’s category.

Lee travelled to Azerbaijan with the team as the national coach and will be guiding the athletes on the field.

The event will be streamed live on the WT website and YouTube channel.

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