(Reuters) – Five taekwondoin to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics:
LEE DAE-HOON (SOUTH KOREA)
The top-ranked athlete in the male -68kg category will be bearing the weight of national pride for South Korea after leaving Rio and London with a bronze and silver, respectively. He’s won plenty of other gold medals – including in three world championships – but the Olympics trophy has eluded him.
The father of a toddler at age 29, Lee has said he not only wants to win gold in Tokyo but also disprove the assumption he once held himself that parent-athletes tend to lose their grit.
CHEICK SALLAH CISSE (IVORY COAST)
The 27-year-old produced one of the most memorable moments for the sport in Rio when his last-second spin kick against Briton Lutalo Muhammad earned his country its first Olympic gold medal.
Cisse’s first bout will be on July 26 against Morocco’s Achraf Mahboubi in the -80kg category.
JADE JONES (BRITAIN)
The Welsh two-time gold medallist in the women’s -57kg category will be looking for a historic third consecutive crown for Britain in Tokyo.
Nicknamed “The Headhunter” for her preference for high-scoring kicks to the head, Jones has written an autobiography by the same name and has starred in British dating reality series “Celebs Go Dating”.
KIMIA ALIZADEH (REFUGEE OLYMPIC TEAM)
The first and only woman to win an Olympic medal for Iran with a bronze in Rio, Alizadeh will be one of 29 athletes competing on the refugee team, hosted by her newly adopted home, Germany. Her first fight, in the qualification contest, will be against compatriot Nahid Kiyani Chandeh in the -57kg category.
Alizadeh may also be unmatched among her taekwondo peers on Instagram with 403,000 followers and counting – more than double that of Jade Jones.
WU JINGYU (CHINA)
Two-time Olympic champion in the women’s -49kg category, China’s Wu had once announced her retirement after losing in the quarter-final in Rio. But she returned in 2019, barely a year after the birth of her daughter.
Having endured a gruelling tournament schedule to rack up enough points to qualify for Tokyo 2020, the 34-year-old will be the first female taekwondoin to compete in her fourth Olympics.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Peter Rutherford)