01/03/2024
Tokyo 2020 Taekwondo Qualfifers

Taekwondo athletes compete for places at Tokyo 2020 (credit World Taekwondo Twitter)

As the most difficult martial arts, Taekwondo is a must watch at Tokyo 2020. Australia will send four competitors to Tokyo to bring home gold

There are eight events for Taekwondo at Tokyo 2020. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Taekwondo will be seen once again in Tokyo 2020. Taekwondo was first seen in the Seoul Olympics of 1988, then again in 1992, both as a demonstration sport. In Sydney 2000, Taekwondo took its spot as a full medal event, where it has stayed ever since.

Taekwondo is one of the oldest martial arts on the planet, with it being over 2000 years old. The name sums up the sport perfectly with Taekwondo meaning foot, hand, art.

Art is an excellent descriptor of this sport which moves rapidly but with beautiful movements. Having begun in Korea, the martial art is now one of the largest in the world, with an estimated 80 million participants worldwide.

The event has provided less successful Olympic countries with the opportunity to win their first medals. During Rio 2016, Jordan and Cote d’Ivoire received their first Olympic medals from the sport. Famously Iran also managed their first female medal of all time in Taekwondo.

Tokyo 2020 Rules

Each fight contains three, two-minute rounds with a minute’s break between each round. A point system scores Olympic Taekwondo. 1 point is given for a punch to the body, and 2 points for a kick to the body. 3 points are given for a head kick, 4 points for a spinning body kick and 5 points for a spinning head kick.

With kicks making up such a large part of the sport, you will see fighters on the back foot looking to kick more often than not. Fighters can also lose points for penalties.

These penalties occur in 3 instances. 1) Where a fighter is knocked down, 2) when a fighter moves out of the matted octagon area, 3) where a player pauses to adjust their protective equipment. This point scoring system means excitement in the latter stages of fights where fighters behind in points look for spinning head kicks to come back quickly.

The Tokyo games will see 8 different weight and gender classes. In the males, we will see Men’s 58kg, 68kg, 80kg and over 80kg. The women’s events will include 49kg, 57kg, 67kg and the above 67 kg. The more lightweight bodied fighters can show more of their ariel skills which will delight the crowds.

Taekwondo will look slightly different than in previous years with technology changing the sport. For 2020 the uniforms will contain sensors to allow the audience and judges to see hits in real-time and distinguish the force behind hits.

Excitingly a 4D camera will also be positioned on the Taekwondo court. This should allow for never-before-seen angles of these magnificent athletes.

Notable Past Athletes

In 2012, Australian Safwan Khalil fought for bronze but unfortunately lost to the Russian Alexey Denisenko in the 58kg class. Fellow Australian Carmen Marton also lost her bronze medal fight losing to Germanys Helena Fromm. In 2000 Daniel Trenton won silver in the men’s 80kg class. 

Lauren Burns is Australia’s greatest ever, Taekwondo athlete. In 2000 she managed to go undefeated through the games to seal gold against her Cuban competitor.

Two of the most successful Taekwondo athletes are Chinas Wu Jingyu and Great Britain’s Jade Jones. Jingyu did the double in Beijing and London in the 49kg class, winning gold both times.

No athlete as of yet has gone on to win three in a row. Jade Jones Is looking to change that. Jones won gold in the 57kg event in both London and Rio. She has qualified for the Great Britain team for Tokyo and hopes to make herself a legend by being the first to win three golds.

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Australian Taekwondo Team

The Australian Olympic team will provide 4 athletes for Tokyo 2020. Safwan Kahlil, Stacey Hymer, Jack Marton and Reba Stewart. Find out a little bit about each athlete.

Safwan Khalil- Born in Lebanon in 1986 and qualified to compete for Australia, Safwan has been a leader in Australian Taekwondo. Khalil trains at his brother’s gym in Western Sydney, Global Martial Arts. Interestingly he is married to fellow Taekwondo fighter Carmen Marton.

Stacey Hymer- Hailing from Victoria, Stacey Hymer has been involved in Taekwondo since the age of 4. Training out of Notorious Martial Arts in Victoria, Stacey won the gold medal at the Oceania Championship in 2017. As a member of the Australian Taekwondo team, Hymer will want to build on her career to date and medal in Tokyo.

Jack Marton- Jack has been a gold medal winner in two previous Pacific Games. He will now need to step up to that next level for the Olympics. From Upper Ferntree Gully in Victoria, Jack is a Labourer by trade. He is also the brother of former Olympian Carmen Marton.

Reba Stewart- Born in 2001, Reba is the youngest member of Australia’s Taekwondo team. Having first represented Australia in the 2015 cadet world championships. Currently ranked 20th in the world in her weight class Reba will come into the event as an underdog.

Tokyo 2020 Medal Favorites

Maksim Khramtsov (ROC)- Walking out at 6 foot 4 inches tall, Khramtsov is one of the most intimidating Taekwondo in the world. Hailing from Russia, the 23-year-old will be competing for the Russian Olympic Committee. Khramtsov is a proven winner having to medal in every event he has competed in since 2015. Fighting in the 80kg category, it will take a mighty effort from an opponent to defeat him.

Jade Jones (GBR)- Perhaps the most recognisable Taekwondo athlete on the planet Jones has been a mainstream in Team GB in Olympic teams for the best part of a decade. Tokyo 2020 will be Jones 3rd Olympics and hoping to win her 3rd gold medal. Nicknamed the headhunter due to her ability to consistently and accurately strike the head, Jones will go into the 57kg category as the favourite to win gold.

Jade Jones trains for Tokyo 2020

Jang Jun (KOR)- The current world champion after having won gold in Manchester 2019, Jun will take a lot to beat. At 6ft tall and only 58kgs, Jun has the flexibility and reach to defeat all comers. Hailing from South Korea, the traditional home of South Korea, Jun will be carrying the weight of the expectation of a nation on his shoulders. The question for him is whether he can still stand with so much weighing him down. Jun will be the favourite and is hard to go past in the 58kg event.

The taekwondo will be taking place from the 24th of July at the Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Tokyo. The finals and medal ceremonies taking place from Tuesday the 27th of July from 8 pm AEST.

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