Key facts about taekwondo at the Tokyo 2020 Games

(Reuters) - The 2020 Tokyo Olympics includes 33 sports, including taekwondo.

Here are some key facts about taekwondo at the Olympics.

Introduced: After appearing in two Olympic cycles as an exhibition sport, taekwondo became a formal medal event at the 2000 Games.

Events: There are eight events, four men’s and four women’s, broken down by weight class from -58 kg (+127.87 lb) to +80 kg (+176.37 lb) on the men’s side and -49 kg (-108.03 lb) to +67 kg (+147.71 lb) on the women’s.

Rules and technique: Athletes compete in three, two-minute-rounds per match, with points awarded for hits on the torso and head.

Competitors may kick or punch their opponent, with more difficult moves - such as a kick to the head or a spinning kick to the torso - getting three points, and less challenging moves one point.

In addition to maneuvering around the mat, competitors can also block strikes and kicks from their opponents.

Top competitors: Taekwondo is one of the most diverse Olympic sports, according to the Tokyo organizing committee. Athletes from eight different countries took home the eight gold medals in taekwondo at the 2012 Games.

Iran’s only female Summer Olympic medallist Kimia Alizadeh, who won bronze in the 57 kg class at the 2016 Rio Games, announced in January this year that she had defected and hoped to compete for Germany in the Tokyo Olympics.

Sources: International Olympic Committee, Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Taekwando

(Graphics: Taekwondo - )

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris