The 23rd World Taekwondo Championships are set to begin here on Saturday (June 24) with a record 971 athletes from 183 countries registered to compete in an event due to be attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
The previous participation record for the sport’s flagship event was 928 athletes from 142 nations at the 2009 edition in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen.
In another new milestone for the World Championships, a refugee team will be represented under the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) flag.
Iranian-born Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi will be the team’s sole competitor as she looks to make her mark in the women’s 46 kilograms category.
She resides in The Netherlands and will be coached by the Dutch team.
Every Olympic gold medallist from Rio 2016, in the four men’s and four women’s categories, is due to compete.
Among the male fighters is Ahmad Abughaush, Jordan’s first-ever Olympic medallist with gold in the 68kg category, and Ivory Coast’s Cheick Sallah Cisse, who secured his nation's maiden Olympic title with victory in the 80kg division.
They will be joined by China’s Zhao Shuai and Azerbaijan’s Radik Isayev, the Rio 2016 champions in the respective 58kg and over 80kg categories.
Among the female fighters, Great Britain’s Jade Jones is the only double Olympic gold medallist competing having successfully defended her 57kg crown at Rio 2016.
Kim So-hui and Oh Hye-ri, the respective Olympic champions at 49kg an 67kg, will be aiming to claim world titles on home soil, while over 67kg gold medallist Zheng Shuyin of China will also be vying for top honours.
A total of 21 of the 24 reigning Olympic medallists are expected to feature in the tournament.
The World Championships, however, have double the number of weight categories as the Olympics - eight men’s and eight women’s - meaning some athletes who faced each other at Rio 2016 will be fighting in different divisions.
In what is described as a "show of taekwondo unity and sportive goodwill", a North Korean demonstration team from the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) will perform alongside the WTF Demonstration Team during both the Opening Ceremony on Saturday (June 24) and the Closing Ceremony six days later.
During the Closing Ceremony, a mixed-gender team competition - a new format for taekwondo, first tested in December 2016 at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku - will take place.
"I am confident that these are going to be not just the biggest, but also the best Championships in taekwondo history," WTF President Chungwon Choue said.
"I am tremendously pleased to welcome the ITF Demonstration Team to Muju, for their participation shows how sport can bypass politics and operate as a vehicle for unity, goodwill, and peace."
Bach is due to be in attendance on the final day of competition.
Other IOC members scheduled to be present during the Championships include Djibouti’s Aicha Garad Ali, North Korea’s Ung Chang, Peru’s Ivan Dibos, The Netherlands’ Camiel Eurlings and Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng.
Completing the list are South Korea’s Seung Min Ryu, Japan’s Tsunekazu Takeda, Chinese Taipei’s CK Wu and China’s Zaiqing Yu.
Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, is also scheduled to make an appearance.
A WTF General Assembly is due to be held tomorrow, when Choue is set to be re-elected for a new four-year term as President.
The WTF announced in April that the South Korean, who was first elected to the role in 2004, is standing unopposed.
Choue replaced the controversial Kim Un-Yong following his arrest on embezzlement and bribery charges in South Korea, which ultimately led to him being expelled from the IOC.
He completed the year that Kim had left on his term and was re-elected in 2005 for a four-year mandate, before he reclaimed the position in 2009 and again in 2013.
Elections for places on the WTF's ruling Council are also scheduled to take place.
There are 28 candidates standing for 12 positions.
Three positions are available for members from Asia, Europe and Pan America, with two on offer for Africa and one for Oceania, with a simple majority required for victory.
The full candidate list is available here.
The first World Championships were held in Seoul in 1973 and take place once every two years.
Muju will mark the seventh time the Championships have been held in South Korea.
The venue here is a purpose-built taekwondo training and competition facility.
insidethegames will be running a Live Blog throughout the Championships, starting with coverage of tomorrow's General Assembly.