British martial arts fans will be at the heart of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix action this weekend, as Manchester is hosting the fourth leg of the competition. The three-day event, which begins on Friday 19th October, is being held at the Manchester Regional Arena.
The World Taekwondo Grand Prix – A Guide to the Big Event
This prestigious tournament has been on the sporting calendar since 2013 and this year’s competition is its sixth edition. The inaugural tournament was a single event, which was held over the course of three days at the Manchester Central Arena. Competitors from around the world battled it out to win taekwondo trophies in following eight categories:
- The men’s -58kg, -68kg, -80kg and +80kg
- The women’s -49kg, -57kg, -67kg and +67kg.
The following year, the format was altered to include three legs and a final, all of which were held in different countries. In 2018, a further leg was added. The first leg of this year’s competition took place in Rome in June, while the second was held in Moscow two months later. Taoyaun played host to the third leg in September. The final will take place in November in Fujairah, in the UAE.
The weight categories for this year’s event remain unchanged. Competitors in Manchester will include the 31 highest-ranked fighters in each division according to the World Taekwondo Federation, as well one British wildcard entry in each group. Not only can fighters putting in good performances at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix add medals and trophies to their display cabinets, they will gain coveted ranking points. Earning these points will boost their chances of being able to take part in the 2019 Taekwondo World Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Which Martial Arts Stars Will Be Fighting in Manchester?
If you’re going to see the competition, you’ll be able to watch a host of Olympic medallists and World Champions on the mat. Three-time world champion, Dae-Hoon Lee, from the Republic of Korea, who bagged a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics and a bronze at the Rio 2016 Games, will be competing in the men’s -68kg division. Rio 2016 champion Cheick Sallah Cissé, from the Ivory Coast, is set to fight in the men’s -80kg category, while So-Hui Kim, from the Republic of Korea, who also returned from the Rio Olympics with a gold medal, will be competing in the women’s -49kg division.
There’ll be plenty of British taekwondo stars there to cheer on as well. Jade Jones, the double Olympic champion, will be aiming to add the women’s -57kg trophy to her collection, while 2018’s Junior World Champion, Jordyn Smith, will feature in the women’s -49kg event. Bianca Walkden, who was crowned world champion in 2015 and 2017, will fighting for the women’s +67kg title, while Hassan Haider, who won a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, competes in the men’s -58kg category.
Brits Lutalo Muhammed and Mahama Cho, who were among the gold medal winners at the first ever edition of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix, will also be taking part this year, as will Maddison Moore, Rachelle Booth, Kyla Julien, Lauren Williams, Molly Dunbavin, Rebecca McGowan, Christian McNeish, Josh Callard, Bradly Sinden and Damon Sansum.
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