Lee Dae-hoon, left, and Bianca Walken, right, were awarded the Athlete of the Year prizes ©World Taekwondo

Britain's Bianca Walkden and South Korea's Lee Dae-hoon have been named as Female and Male Athletes of the Year at World Taekwondo's fourth annual Gala Awards.

The event took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Abidjan, with the ceremony coinciding with the Ivory Coast city hosting the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final and World Team Championships.

Walkden was honoured after defending her World Championship title in the women's over 67 kilogram competition in Muju this year, as well as becoming the first athlete to win all four of the year's Grand Prix tournaments.

"I want to say 'thank you' to everyone," said Walkden.

"I am still shocked, I am so pleased."

GB performance director Gary Hall praised Walkden's professionalism and hailed her desire to bounce back from the disappointment of only claiming a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"Bianca has enjoyed an outstanding year," said Hall.

"It's been an incredible challenge because nobody else in history before had managed what she has achieved.

"To maintain such a high standard is credit to her and her professionalism.

"She wants to win a third successive world title in 2019 which nobody has done before.

"And then she wants to go to Tokyo 2020 and win that Olympic gold medal."

Lee earned the men's award for the third time out of four editions, following another successful year on the circuit.

The fourth edition of the Gala Awards took place in Abidjan ©World Taekwondo
The fourth edition of the Gala Awards took place in Abidjan ©World Taekwondo

The South Korean earned World Championship gold in the men's 68kg category event in front of a home crowd in Muju, while he won all three of the Grand Prix competitions he attended.

Serbia's Dragan Jovic was named as the Coach of the Year, having managed to develop female players who have earned two Olympic medals and two world titles for the country.

Moldova's Aaron Cook was awarded the Best Kick of the Year award for the second time following a spinning heel kick to the head of Russia's Anton Kotkov at the Moscow Grand Prix event.

South Korea were named as the Best Member National Association of the Year after successfully hosting the biggest World Championships in history, while they scooped the national team award after winning the most medals at the event and during the Grand Prix season.

They were followed by Russia and Britain, who came second and third respectively.

World Taekwondo Africa was named Best Continental Union of the Year following a successful hosting of a Grand Prix event in Morocco's capital Rabat, as well as the Grand Prix Final in Abidjan.

Lebanon's Julie Dib and Belgium's Abdelkhalek Chbibi were named as the female and male referees of the year.

The awards gala featured several local performances, including from dance troupes and singers as the Ivory Coast showed its culture.

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue also spoke at the event, where he hailed the success of the 2017 World Championships, the rising role of Africa and the charitable efforts of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation.