Updated: Thursday, 2nd April 2020 @ 8:03pm

Alive and kicking: Local talent have eye on Rio 2016 at Manchester's World Taekwondo Grand Prix

Alive and kicking: Local talent have eye on Rio 2016 at Manchester's World Taekwondo Grand Prix

| By Steph Brawn

Three Mancunians from Team GB will look to stack up some points ahead of Rio 2016 at this week's World Taekwondo Grand Prix at Manchester Central.

The trio will compete among 256 athletes who are taking part to try and qualify for the Olympics in two years’ time, with some stellar performances from some world class kickers.

Rachelle Booth, Jordan Gayle and Michael Harvey are all home grown competitors looking to build on their successes in the city which should give them a huge boost.

Booth, 19 and from Wigan, is a rather unique athlete to say the least having revealed she is double-jointed and has three kidneys. 

She will be competing in the -57 kg category on the final day of the event after being selected for this year’s European championships in Azerbaijan.

Booth also competed at her first World Taekwondo Federation national championships in Manchester last month and clinched a gold medal, a colour she hopes to one day have around her neck at the Olympics.

An ex-drama school student and piano player, she certainly isn’t short of confidence and Manchester has every faith that she is capable of Rio qualification. 

Both Gayle and Harvey will compete in the men’s -68 kg category and will both be looking to their strength of character for success in the Grand Prix.

Gayle has suffered from injures that caused him to miss the 2011 world championships and pushed him down the pecking order for London 2012. 

He then missed last year’s worlds after being forced to withdraw with weight issues but is still determined he has what it takes to get his first GP victory. 

Gayle managed a silver medal at the Luxor Open in Egypt and won his latest national title last month adding to his Commonwealth gold from 2008, so expect a fiery comeback from the 23-year-old. 

Beijing 2008 Olympian Harvey won a European title in Manchester two years ago and is hoping that his home city will get behind him to bring about similar success. 

The Tamesider has alternated between two weight categories over the years after struggling with his adaptability, but has this year collected medals in Luxor and Fujairah. 

He lost last year and his favourite team Manchester United haven’t had the best start to the season, so Harvey will be desperate for gold this time. 

Other members of the squad include Olympic champion Jade Jones, former kick boxing world champion Damon Sansum and 16-year-old Asia Bailey.

All participants will compete across eight different weight categories and can score a maximum of 40 points in world ranking points. 

Great Britain were one of six countries to win medals last year and they certainly have the ability to kick harder, better and faster in 2014.

Main image courtesy of Karate Bushido Officiel via YouTube, with thanks.