World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue delivered a speech at the Opening Ceremony ©World Taekwondo

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue has declared this year’s World Taekwondo Championships a "key milestone" on the road to the Paris 2024 Olympics as the event was officially opened in grand style here.

More than 5,000 spectators packed into the Centro Acuático CODE Metropolitano for an action-filled Opening Ceremony before competition gets underway tomorrow.

The World Taekwondo Championships was originally due to be held in Chinese city Wuxi last year only to be moved to 2022 and relocated to Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his opening speech, Choue praised the "unwavering human spirit" to overcome all the challenges the global health crisis presented to stage the event in Guadalajara.

"A big welcome to more than 710 athletes and 570 officials from 120 member nations, as well as our very own World Taekwondo Refugee Team," said Choue.

"Guadalajara 2022 is one of the key milestones in your road to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

"With new, improved competition rules aimed at generating more excitement and action, I believe that our participating athletes will deliver a truly memorable World Championships."

The venue which usually hosts swimming and diving events has been transformed for the World Taekwondo Championships and provided the perfect stage for tonight’s spectacle.

Spectators were treated to a thrilling Opening Ceremony that featured World Taekwondo’s demonstration team, artistic swimmers, circus skills and pyrotechnics.

World Taekwondo's demonstration team delighted fans with another thrilling performance ©World Taekwondo
World Taekwondo's demonstration team delighted fans with another thrilling performance ©World Taekwondo

The ceremony started with a young taekwondo player defeating two menacing creatures to show her strength in overcoming adversity.

While the swimming pool has been covered by taekwondo mats, the diving boards remain visible on one side of the arena.

But they were used to good effect with performers dressed in colourful costumes standing on the platforms as indoor fireworks were set off.

A large Mexican flag was unfurled on the mats after being delivered by members of the country’s armed forces as the national anthem was performed.

Following the arrival of the World Taekwondo flag, an athlete representing each of the 120 participating nations entered the venue.

Flagbearers lined the mats as Mexico received the biggest cheer of the night when the country was introduced to the crowd.

Choue and Mexican Taekwondo Federation President Francisco Raymundo delivered speeches before Mexican Sports Minister Ana Gabriela Guevara was booed by spectators when she took to the lectern.

"This Taekwondo World Championship is once again in our country and it is a source of pride for everyone," said Guevara.

"We have 120 countries this week and the world's greatest sports discipline will be fighting.

"It is an honour to have the World Championships at home."

Once the speeches were concluded, the stage was set for World Taekwondo’s famous demonstration team.

Footage of the team’s performance on America’s Got Talent was shown on the big screen before starting their display.

The traditional taekwondo of Poomsae was mixed with board-breaking skills as performers thrilled the spectators.

There was also a Mexican flavour added to the mix as the country’s flag was unveiled and the team changed into national dress topped with sombreros.

The team’s electric performance proved to kick-start to proceedings as artistic swimmers took to the diving pool and acrobats used zip wires to fly across the arena.

A mariachi band also took to the stage as folk dancers produced circus tricks on ropes, gymnasts summersaulted on the mats and flame throwers lit up the diving platforms in a spectacular finale to the evening’s show