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Expect plenty of excitement at ExCeL when the Taekwondo competitors take to the court at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Wednesday 8 – Saturday 11 August
Medal events: 8
Athletes: 128 (64 men, 64 women)
The word ‘Taekwondo’ translates into English as ‘the way of foot and fist’ – an accurate description of the principles behind this Korean martial art. Powerful kicks and punches are, literally, the name of the game, which offers tension, drama and plenty of action.

The basics

The object of Taekwondo is to land kicks and punches on your opponent’s scoring zones: one point is awarded for a valid kick or punch to the torso, two points for a valid spinning kick, and four points for a turning kick to the head.

The action takes place inside an 8m x 8m zone called a court, with each contest made up of three two-minute rounds. Over their standard white uniform, known as a ‘dobok’, competitors wear coloured protective equipment. The competitor wearing blue is referred to as ‘chung’, while the competitor in red is ‘hong’.

The eight Taekwondo events at the London 2012 Games – four weight categories for men, four for women – will be played in a knockout format. The winners of each contest will qualify for the next round, with the two finalists going head to head in the gold medal contest. All competitors who lose to one of the finalists will enter the 'repechage', which will eventually determine the winners of the bronze medals.

Olympic Taekwondo, past and present

Taekwondo made its debut as a demonstration sport at the Seoul 1988 Games, but was not officially added to the Olympic programme until the Sydney 2000 Games. At London 2012, the Taekwondo competition will be held at ExCeL, a multi-purpose events venue that will also host a number of other Olympic and Paralympic sports.

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