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The 2017 World Para Taekwondo Championships will kick off Thursday (19 October) at the Copper Box Arena, the same venue that hosted the taekwondo during the London 2012 Olympics

The 2017 World Para Taekwondo Championships will kick off Thursday (19 October) at the Copper Box Arena, the same venue that hosted the taekwondo during the London 2012 Olympics

Around 260 athletes from a record-breaking 59 countries will fight for titles acros medal events, with Kyorugi the main competition format at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut.

The Championships will also provide athletes with the opportunity to earn vital Paralympic qualification points as the qualification cycle for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has begun in 2017.

Three-time European champion Amy Truesdale is expected to have home-mat advantage. The No. 1 ranked fighter is the favourite in the women’s over 58kg K44.

Denmark’s three-time world champion and No. 2 ranked Lisa Gjessing will try to make it four in the women’s up to 58kg K44. But she will have to get past Russia’s No. 1 Russia’s Ayshat Ramazanova.

The USA’s Evan Medell has had an outstanding year and would look to cap it off with his first world title in the men’s over 75kg K44. The 20-year-old won the Pan American Championship crown to add to his wins earlier this year at the US Open and Oceania Open.

Iran’s Mahdi Pourrahnamaahmad will be the one to beat in the men’s under 75kg K44 and will go for his fourth consecutive world gold.

In the men’s under 61kg K44, all will be chasing Mongolia’s No. 1 Bolor-Erdene Ganbat.

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue said: “In the two years since the last World Championships we have seen a huge rise in the number of athletes around the world practicing Para taekwondo. With more athletes than ever competing and the standard higher than ever, I am sure that this year’s World Championships will be the very best yet.

“Athletes will need to be on top of their game as they look to secure world ranking points toward qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and where better to compete than the world-class London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue, the Copper Box.”

The Kyorugi competitions at the World Championships will be divided into four sport classes with three male and three female weight categories. There will also be Poomsae sport classes for athletes with an intellectual impairment and for athletes with a motor impairment.