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TAEKWONDO
This martial art, which was a demonstration sport in Seoul in 1988 and in Barcelona in 92 but absent from Atlanta in 96 is to be a full Olympic sport in Sydney in 2000.The name of this Korean sport means "the Way of punches and kicks". It is not unlike karate in the way the feet are used to kick, but are also used against the opponent in the Korean sport.There are four weight categories and tournaments work by direct elimination until the final.For often violent combats, yet very telegenic, the fighters are equipped with a helmet, arm and leg guards and a breastplate. One wears red, the other blue. Taekwondo is the only combat sport which protects the body parts that can be struck by the opponent. Korea is naturally the best nation at this sport in the world, but other European and Asian countries have set their sights on the top places too. In Sydney, the Korean men and women had climbed on to the podium four times to pick up 3 of the 8 gold medals up for grabs.
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