Winners line up following the WTF Gala Awards ceremony ©WTF

South Korea’s Lee Dae-Hoon won a second successive Male Athlete of the Year accolade in chaotic fashion at the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Gala Awards ceremony here this evening.

Wu Jingyu of China received the female accolade.

Lee, a former two-time world champion who won the under 68 kilograms category here yesterday at the WTF Grand Prix Finals, was on stage presenting the award alongside WTF President Chungwon Choue by virtue of having won it last year.

Choue introduced the category then paused to allow Lee to announce the winner, only for an awkward silence as the South Korean could not see what to read out.

The name of Iranian world champion Mahdi Khodabakhshi then appeared on the screen before Choue announced that Lee - still standing ready to present alongside him - had, in fact, won once again.

insidethegames was assured afterwards by those involved in the counting process that Lee had received the most votes and that the names of all five nominees should have appeared on the screen rather than just that of Khodabakhshi.

It was unfortunate, however, that the Iranian was considered a favourite to win after a superb year until an injury forced him to miss the season finale, meaning he had not travelled to Mexico.

This had led some to speculate as to whether he had been excluded in favour of someone present.

It was a slapstick moment in a ceremony that had some impressive performers and visual effects, but was riddled with technical problems to the extent that the glitches almost added to the spectacle and entertainment.

Lee Dae-Hoon alongside WTF President Chungwon Choue ©WTF
Lee Dae-Hoon alongside WTF President Chungwon Choue ©WTF

There were no doubts about the women’s winner, with two-time Olympic under 49kg champion Wu honoured for a superb season which has included victories at both the Manchester and Mexico City Grand Prix.

She also took a silver medal at May’s World Championships in Chelyabinsk, suffering her only defeat of the season in a WTF-organised event in the final against South Korean teenager Ha Min-ah.

Moldova’s Aaron Cook received the "Kick of The Year" award for his stunning jump spinning knockout of Mali’s Ismael Coulibaly at the Moscow Grand Prix in August.

“This feels like winning as Oscar,” quipped the under 80 kilograms fighter, who switched nationality from Great Britain after being controversially left out of the British squad for the London 2012 Olympics.

Turkey’s Gulsah Alonso, who trains the Egyptian team, was named Coach of the Year.

Russia received the Member National Association (MNA) award after its successful hosting of the World Championships.

Morocco’s Tarik Benradi and Thailand’s Kalaya Suddai were named male and female referee of the year.

The Mexican and Jordanian Taekwondo Federations each received Outstanding Contribution awards.

The event began with a series of traditional dances before a speech by Choue, who praised Mexico for being “a great supporter of taekwondo”.

He also outlined his flagship development project, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundarian.

Other presenters included IOC members Aicha Garad Ali of Djibouti and Iván Dibós of Peru, who each sit on the WTF's ruling Council.

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