Rule changes present extra challenge for Great Britain’s taekwondo stars

Team GB are getting to grips with new rules ahead of an international taekwondo competition in Manchester next week.

More than 400 of the world’s best fighters will be competing at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix III at the Manchester Regional Arena.

A range of changes – including three or more kicks without putting the foot down resulting in a point deducted (gam-jeom), and new rules surrounding clinch work (close combat) – have been introduced mid-season.

And GB performance director Gary Hall (pictured above) admits the changes have presented challenges ahead of the start of the competition on Thursday.

He said: “We believe these changes haven’t come at the best time for any taekwondo athlete and taekwondo coach.

“We have to adapt and be able to adjust to it.”

Changes also include how the matches will be judged, including the redefinition of spinning kicks and the availability of instant video replays for any kicks to the face and head.

Athletes in training at GB’s taekwondo base in Manchester ahead of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix III. Picture: Poppy Dippnall

The four-day event will feature only the top 31 world-ranked athletes from more than 50 nations competing for the top spot to move onto the Final Grand Prix.

Hall says the team members are all excited to fight on home grounds.

He said: “As a team, they are really focused on doing the best they can do for these games. We’ve got some brilliant athletes and brilliant coaches.

“We’ve got a brilliant set-up in Manchester. (The athletes) really love the home crowd as well.

“We have no doubt they’re gonna give it everything they’ve got.”

Team GB has the home advantage which allows the Wild Card policy to be played.

This allows the home team to bring in athletes outside the 31 world-ranked selected athletes.

Hall said: “We’ve got some athletes who are ready for the challenge and ready to step up.

“They’re really looking forward to the challenge, and we’re really looking forward to supporting them.”

Top athletes Bianca Walkden – competing under her newlywed name Cook – and Bradley Sinden are among some of the best athletes competing, alongside Paralympic stars Beth Munro and Amy Truesdale.

The world’s best Olympic and Paralympic athletes are all competing for the place in the Final Grand Prix, to be held in December in Wuxi, China.

World Taekwondo Grand Prix III – the third of four taking place across the world – will be at the Manchester Regional Arena between October 20 and 23.

Tickets cost from £7.50 for adults and £5 for Under-16s and can be bought from:

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