Overview

Taekwondo consists of matches between two athletes. Each match consists of three rounds of two minutes. There is a one-minute break in between each round. Athletes get points for kicking their opponent in several different ways, including head kicks, spinning kicks, jumping kicks and speed kicking. A match by the athlete who has the most points after three rounds (or by the athlete who knocks his or her opponent out before the end of the match).

Each NOC can qualify a maximum of one athlete per weight class

Taekwondo at the Tokyo Games will comprise eight medal events across four weight classes each for men and women:

  • Men’s 58kg
  • Men’s 68kg
  • Men’s 80kg
  • Men’s 80+kg
  • Women’s 49kg
  • Women’s 57kg
  • Women’s 67kg
  • Women’s 67+kg

Taekwondo, meaning “the way of the foot and fist,” is a Korean martial art that debuted as an Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Games. Fittingly, South Korea leads the all-time taekwondo medal standings with 19 total (12 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze).

Competition Format

At the beginning of the competition, athletes are drawn into a single elimination bracket. One loss means the athlete is no longer in contention for gold.

To make it to the gold medal match, athletes must win three bouts (preliminary round, quarterfinal round, and semifinal round). Athletes who lose to the eventual finalists will drop into the repechage (or second chance) bracket in order to have a chance to compete for bronze.

Repechage Bracket

Athletes who lose to the two eventual finalists in the gold medal match are drawn into the repechage bracket. In addition, the two semifinal losers are seeded to directly to repechage finals.

Winners of the repechage finals receive bronze medals. There will be two bronze medals.

Scoring

The sport uses an electronic scoring system (the Protector and Scoring System (PSS)); when contact is made with the correct part of the foot to the head or the trunk, the points are sent electronically to the scoreboard
Three corner judges also insert scores on handheld devices for punches to the trunk and for technical points for advanced movements

Scoring system

Movement Score Additional Points
Kick to body 1 point Up to 3 points (+2)
Head kick 3 points Up to 4 points (+1)

Penalties

There are two types of penalties: Kyonggos (warning penalties) and Gamjeom (deduction penalties)

Type Deduction
Two Kyong-gos 1 point
One Gam-jeom 1 point

If an athlete is inactive for 10 or more seconds or if he or she withdraws from a fight, penalties will affect their score.

If a fighter gains a 12-point lead on their opponent, the match is automatically suspended and the fighter with the most points is declared the winner.

Tiebreaking

If there is a tie after the regulation period, a fourth round of two minutes (known as the “golden point round”) is held.

Golden Point Round

Begins a minute after the end of the third round.

Points from previous round are not taken into consideration during this round.

This is sudden death — the first to score is declared the winner or if the athlete receives two Kyong-gos or one Gam-jeom, his or her opponent is declared the winner.

More information:

Official Tokyo site – Taekwondo

USA Taekwondo

International federation