World’s best primed for historic Baku 2023 World Taekwondo Championships


(May 22, 2023) - Nearly 1,000 of the best Taekwondo athletes from across the globe are making their final preparations ahead of the historic Baku 2023 World Taekwondo Championships which will be held in the Azeri capital on May 29-June 4.


Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of World Taekwondo, the World Championships will see athletes from 144 countries plus a Refugee Team compete across 16 weight categories (8 men and 8 women) for the coveted world title as well as vital qualification points for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games .


World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue said:


“With just over a week to go until the World Championships begin, there is a huge sense of excitement of what is to come in Baku. Outside of the Olympic Games, the World Championships is our premier event and always delivers specular Taekwondo action. This year’s event is made even more special by the fact it coincides with our 50th anniversary and so will be a true celebration of our sport and all we have achieved together over the last half century. With nearly 150 countries represented plus a Refugee Team at the Championships, it will be an event which not only showcases the best of elite Taekwondo but also the globality and inclusivity of our sport.” 


A total of 15 of the 144 countries will have an athlete in every one of the 16 weight categories. Of the 13 members of the Refugee Team, 7 are holders of the IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship for Paris 2024. Among them is Yehya Al Ghotani (M-63kg) who will be the first athlete from the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan to have competed at a World Taekwondo Championships. More than 700 officials will officiate the event.


In addition, 23 athletes have been provisionally approved to participate as Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN) following the completion of the three-step verification process established by the World Taekwondo Council on April 3. On arrival in Baku they will have to sign a declaration committing to fully respecting the conditions of participation. Two athletes’ registrations were rejected after the Review Committee determined that they did not meet the eligibility criteria.


On May 27, a Gala Dinner will be held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World Taekwondo at the Heydar Aliyev Centre. During the Gala, awards will be presented to the 17 Member National Associations that attended the very first World Taekwondo General Assembly 50 years prior on May 28, 1973. Iconic athletes will also be recognised with a male and female honoured from each Olympic Games Taekwondo has featured in since Sydney 2000 and from Taekwondo’s Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.


The World Taekwondo Council meeting and World Taekwondo General Assembly will follow on May 28 on the eve of the World Championships.