Record-breaking World Taekwondo Championships set to begin in Manchester

Featured Record-breaking World Taekwondo Championships set to begin in Manchester

A record 975 athletes are expected to take part in the World Taekwondo Championships at Manchester Arena, with action beginning tomorrow.

This week's tournament is set to be the biggest World Championships yet, with 945 athletes having competed in Muju in 2017.

A refugee team will also participate under World Taekwondo's flag.

The host nation, staging the competition for the first time, has supplied a 15-strong team.

This includes two-time Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones, who will aim to add a world title in the -57 kilogram category to her list of accolades having taken bronze in Muju.

Team-mate Bianca Walken could win her third consecutive world gold medal in the +73kg, while Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad and compatriot Mahama Cho will try to become Britain's first male world taekwondo champion.

They will be challenged by South Korea, who earned five gold medals to win the overall team standings in 2017.

Sim Jae-young and Lee Ah-reum will be returning to defend their world titles in the women's -46 kilograms and -57kg categories, while Lee Dae-hoon, a three-time 63kg world champion making his fifth appearance, will headline the men's team.

Other athletes to look out for include Germany's Alexander Bachmann in the -87kg and China's Shuai Zhao in the -63kg, both reigning champions in their respective categories.

During day sessions, Manchester Arena will feature seven courts while athletes contest knockout rounds.

In the evening sessions, the Arena will switch to "show court" mode when lights will be dimmed to intensify the atmosphere.

Competing athletes will have their images flown high next to a large digital display screen showing the match action.

The competition begins tomorrow with the knockout stage of the women's -46kg and -73kg, alongside the men's -58kg.

Semi-final action will then take place in the same categories in the evening.

The tournament continues until Sunday (May 19), with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach set to be among the spectators on Saturday (May 18).

In the build-up to the Championships, World Taekwondo has a held a conference, Council meeting and General Assembly.

During the Council meeting, they announced Manchester would also host the 2021 Grand Prix Series and 2023 Grand Prix Final.

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