Study #2: World Junior Taekwondo Championships

The 9th World Junior Taekwondo Championships will be held in a few weeks (April 4th-8th) in Egypt. More than 700 budding champions between 14 and 17 years old will compete to not only defend their country’s flag but to earn the recognition that could launch their career. It is time for us to have a look at the previous editions.

Among 70+ participating nations, which ones can actually make it to the top?
Is the team you support one of them?
Read on to find out!

Even though I gathered the results of the past 15 years in the database, this study is about identifying the current trends. Therefore, I focused only on the last 3 editions: 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Top 15

The following Top 15 shows the nations that count most in the World Junior Taekwondo Championships. In the last three championships, these nations have won 187 out of the 240 medals given. That’s almost 80%! Besides, during each edition, these teams won on average between two (Mexico) and six (Turkey) medals — except South Korea, which, as you will see, is clearly an exceptional case.

For these reasons, we are not going to analyze the results of the 65 (approx.) other participating nations. However, if you want to follow the performance of a nation not mentioned here, you still can do it with the comparative dynamic charts.

World Junior Taekwondo Championships - Top 15

If you wonder why I chose to order the nations by the number of medals won, here is a short answer : getting one athlete to win a medal confirms the elite level of a national federation, at least for one category. Read a detailed explanation in this post.

South Korea: The Undisputed Ruler

I am well aware that Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. Yet it’s impressive to see such crushing domination. Just look at these numbers: the South Korean team won by itself 40 out of 240 medals, that is 17% or a 1/6 ratio! Even more stunning, 24 of these medals were in gold. Given that only 60 gold medals have been rewarded over the last three editions of the World Taekwondo Junior Championships (60 in gold, 60 in silver, 120 in bronze), 40% or 4 out of every 10 gold medalists were South Koreans.

World Junior Taekwondo Championships - South Korean leadership

In spite of the huge gap between the South Koreans and the other participants, one should note that their supremacy is slowly but steadily decreasing – look at this chart.

We can also see that Turkey, which is one of the top tier nations in the European Junior Taekwondo Championships, holds its own on the global scene. The Turkish taekwondo federation is one of the few whose results are currently trending upwards!

Current Trends

On the increase ↗

Among the Top 5, Iran and Turkey are the only nations which are currently on a positive cycle. Croatia and Jordan, even though they don’t play in the same league, are clearly on a roll!
See for yourself : these trends are easy to follow with a look at the medal count, and just plain obvious when looking at the number of points won.

On the decrease ↘

Besides the South Korean case I discussed earlier, three national teams should worry about their current results: France, Taiwan and Thailand. Thailand topped at rank #3 in 2006 but couldn’t maintain such a high level. See how these nations’ rank are decreasing.

The fall ↓

Spain, Greece and Italy once were part of the top tier nations in the World Junior Taekwondo Championships. This era is over.
The results of the Spanish team are also plunging in Europe. It is a possible sign that this federation is not training its young athletes properly over the last few years.

Top Athletes of the 2010 Championships

The nations do not literally fight during the championships. The athletes do!

Cesar Roman Rodriguez - 2010 World Jurnior Taekwondo Championships male MVPmale MVP
The 2010 male MVP: Cesar Roman Rodriguez - Mexico; Gold medalist, under 51kg (Credit : Flickr / taekwondo inat / instituto nacional taekwondo mexico)

This study would be incomplete if I didn’t mention some young champions who fought like lions to defend the colors of the nations highlighted before.

  • South Korea: Jeong In Chang (Men’s -59kg, gold medal)
  • Turkey: Cakir Cubra (Women’s -46kg, gold medal)
  • Iran: Kaveh Rezaei (Men’s -55 kg, gold medal)
  • Croatia: Ana Pavlovic (Women’s -42kg, silver medal)
  • Jordan: Al Sadeq Yazan (Men’s +78kg, silver medal)


In light of this analysis, I am pretty excited to follow the 2012 edition next month and see if the Top 15 evolves!

Are you surprised by these results?
You thought that your national team would be better ranked?
You want to do some predictions for the 2012 championships?

Share your thoughts below!

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One Response to Study #2: World Junior Taekwondo Championships

  1. Pingback: 2012 World Junior Taekwondo Championships: A Quick Debrief

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