The Tokyo 2020 taekwondo competition had one of the most diverse lists of medallists at the Games, with five of the eight Olympic champions hailing from countries that had never seen athletes win gold in the sport.
As new champions were crowned, old favourites had to deal with disappointment.
For Team Korea, who top the all-time Olympic medal table with 22 medals including 12 golds, this was the first time they returned from an Olympic Games without winning a single gold.
Will more historic gold medals be won at the upcoming Olympics, or will former champions bounce back at the Grand Palais in the capital of France?
It all begins with qualification.
Find out more about the taekwondo qualification system for Paris 2024 below.
How many athletes will compete in taekwondo at Paris 2024?
In total, 128 athletes will compete in the Paris taekwondo competition: 64 men and 64 women – exactly the same number as the previous editions of the Games. This figure includes host country quotas (two per gender) and Universality places (two per gender).
Following that, 120 remaining quota places will be allocated to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) with a maximum number of eight (one per weight category, four per gender across all weight categories).
For each of the eight weight categories, a maximum of 16 athletes will compete. However, this figure may increase if additional athletes are selected for the Refugee Olympic Team.
What are the requirements for athletes to be eligible for a quota?
To be eligible to participate at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, all athletes will be required to comply with the following:
- Athletes must be a Kukkiwon Dan certificate holder
- Athletes must hold a World Taekwondo (WT) Global Athlete License
Those athletes qualified through the host country places, Universality Places and the Continental Qualification Tournaments must meet one of the following five requirements between 1 June 2022 and 1 May 2024:
- Athletes must be medal winners at any of the competitions enlisted on the WT event calendar.
- Athletes must be ranked from 1 to 20 at least once in the WT World Ranking during the qualification period.
- Athletes must have advanced to the round of 16 or higher at either the 2022 or 2023 edition of the WT World Taekwondo Championships.
- Athletes must have advanced to quarter-finals or higher at either the Continental Taekwondo Championships or at their respective Continental Taekwondo Qualification Tournament.
- Athletes must be the winner of their national Taekwondo championships.
What is the qualification pathway to Paris 2024?
All of the 128 quotas will be distributed through five ways: host country places, Universality places, WT Olympic Ranking, WT Grand Slam Champions Series and Continental Qualification Tournaments.
Host country and Universality places: a total of eight athletes
As the host country, France will be allocated four quota places (two for men and two for women) while another four quota places (two for men and two for women) for Universality places will be decided by the Tripartite Commission in May 2024.
WT Olympic Ranking: A total of 40 athletes (20 men and 20 women)
The highest five ranked athletes per weight class on the WT Olympic Ranking will secure one quota each for their respective NOC. The WT Olympic Ranking will reflect results until the Grand Prix (GP) Final of December 2023.
If there is a tie between athletes in the number of WT Olympic Ranking points won during qualifiers, the athlete who won the ranking points at events with higher grades will receive the quota place.
With exception of the Olympic Games which has the highest grade of G20, the WT World Taekwondo Championships is the highest-grade event (G14), followed by the GP Final (G10) and the GP Series (G6). The lowest grade (G1) events include GP Challenge and World Military Champions events.
WT Grand Slam Champions Series: A total of eight athletes (four men and four women)
One quota place each per NOC will be allocated to the highest-ranked athlete in each weight category on the standing of WT Grand Slam Champions Series after December 2023.
In case of a tie in the number of merit point standing points, the athlete who achieved higher rank in 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series will obtain the quota place.
Five Continental Qualification Tournaments: A total of 72 athletes (36 men and 36 women)
Only NOCs who have quotas for less than two athletes per gender through the WT Olympic Ranking or WT Grand Slam Champions Series can participate in the Continental Qualifications Tournaments. Athletes from the host country are not eligible to participate in the respective Continental Qualification Tournament.
The two highest-placed athletes at each Continental Qualification tournament in each of the eight weight categories will obtain one quota place each for their NOC. However, the highest placed athlete per weight class will only win one quota place each at the Oceania Qualification Tournament.
- Africa Qualification Tournament: 16 (eight per gender)
- Asia Qualification Tournament: 16 (eight per gender)
- Europe Qualification Tournament: 16 (eight per gender)
- Oceania Qualification Tournament: eight (four per gender)
- Pan-America Qualification Tournament: 16 (eight per gender)
What is the Paris 2024 taekwondo competition format and schedule?
Taekwondo hasn't changed its weight categories since its debut on the Olympic programme at Sydney 2000, and they will remain the same for Paris 2024.
- Men's taekwondo weight classes: -58kg, -68kg, -80kg, +80kg
- Women's taekwondo weight classes: -49kg, -57kg, -67kg, +67kg
Athletes will advance to the next round by winning face-to-face eliminatory bouts, and there are four medals available per weight category: gold, silver and two bronzes (for the winners of the repechage bouts).
The dates to mark in your calendar are 7, 8, 9 and 10 August 2024, when the entire competition will take place at Grand Palais, located in the heart of Paris. There will be medal events (two per gender) on each of these days.
Taekwondo athletes to watch at Paris 2024
In the women’s event, Thailand’s Panipak Wongpattanakit and Croatia’s Matea Jelic became the first taekwondo athletes from their countries to take home Olympic gold medals following their victories in the -49kg and -67kg categories respectively at Tokyo 2020.
Wongpattanakit beat Spain's current world no. 2 Adriana Cerezo in the -49kg final, however Cerezo's silver medal was still seen as a stunning achievement as she reached the podium at just 18 years of age.
While Serbia’s Milica Mandic became the only taekwondo athlete to win a second gold medal at Tokyo 2020 (her first Olympic title was at London 2012), it is currently doubtful she will compete at Paris 2024 when she will be 31. The 2019 World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Lee Dabin from Republic of Korea will be hoping to stand on top of the Olympic podium in France after losing to Mandic in the final of +67kg weight category.
France's Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Althea Laurin will be chasing a home win in the +67kg category, while her compatriot Magda Wiet Henin will be aiming for her first Olympic medal in -67kg weight class.
As double Olympic champion, Jade Jones’s attempt at a third gold medal was thwarted by Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kimia Alizadeh from the Refugee Olympic Team in the women’s -57kg round of 16 match in Tokyo. She will, however, be looking bounce back to achieve a historic third gold medal at the 2024 Olympic Games.
In the men’s event, Ulugbek Rashitov became the first Uzbekistani athlete to win gold in taekwondo at the Olympic Games following his victory in the -68kg class in Tokyo. Rashitov beat three-time world champion Lee Daehoon, who won silver and bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016 respectively, in the round of 16.
Olympic bronze medallist Jang Jun is the favourite to return Team Korea to the top step of the podium as he attempts to win gold in the -58kg category.
Taekwondo qualification timeline to Paris 2024
- 30 Sep 2023: Confirmation of host country quota places
- 1 October 2023 – 15 January 2024: Eligible NOCs to submit their requests for Universality places
- 2 - 3 December 2023: 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, Manchester (ENG)
- 16 - 17 December 2023: 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series, Wuxi (CHN)
- 22 December 2023: World Taekwondo to confirm in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
- 5 January 2024: The NOCs to confirm to World Taekwondo the use of the allocated quota places.
- 6 January 2024: World Taekwondo to reallocate all unused quota places.
- 6 January 2024: World Taekwondo Olympic Ranking published
- 11 January 2024: World Taekwondo to confirm in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
- 25 January 2024: The NOCs to confirm to World Taekwondo the use of the allocated quota places.
- 30 January 2024: World Taekwondo to reallocate all unused quota places.
- February 2024: Oceania Qualification Tournament (TBD), Africa Qualification (TBD)
- March 2024: Europe Qualification Tournament (TBD), Pan-America Qualification Tournament (TBD)
- April 2024: Asia Qualification Tournament (TBD)
- Within five days after each Continental Qualification Tournament: World Taekwondo to confirm in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
- Two weeks after each Continental Qualification Tournament: The NOCs to confirm to World Taekwondo the use of the allocated quota places.
- Within five days after each previous step: World Taekwondo to reallocate all unused quota places.
- 2 May 2024: The Tripartite Commission to confirm in writing the allocation of Universality places to the NOCs (where applicable).
- 16 May 2024: World Taekwondo to reallocate any unused quota places.
- 8 July 2024: Paris 2024 Sport Entries deadline
- 26 July – 11 August 2024: Olympic Games Paris 2024
Find out more about the qualification system for other sports that will feature at Paris 2024.