Top taekwondo fighters will descend on Manchester this December as the city hosts the first-ever World Grand Prix meeting.
Manchester Central will host the tournament between December 13-15 and the British national team, including London 2012 gold medalist Jade Jones, will be taking part.
Nearly 300 athletes from around the globe will compete in the Olympic weight classes, with ranking points towards qualification for Rio 2016 up for grabs. The event in Manchester is the first of four to be held worldwide, with a grand final pencilled in for late 2014.
Jade said: “It’s a huge step forward for the sport. As an athlete, it’s important that we have the chance to compete regularly against the very best in the world and the Grand Prix series will give us those opportunities. So, it’s fantastic news to have such an exciting event series being launched here in the UK.
“It’s going to be great to compete in front of a passionate home crowd again and I can’t wait until December.”
The Manchester leg of the Grand Prix will be the first major tournament following next month’s World Championships in Mexico.
As hosts, Great Britain will be able to nominate an extra competitor in each weight division. The other host countries will also get this privilege at their events.
Great Britain is quickly becoming a destination of choice for major taekwondo tournaments. As well as London 2012, last year’s European Championships were held here in Manchester.
Adrian Tranter, British Taekwondo President, said: “The British taekwondo family helped make the Olympic Games in London, and just before that the European Championships in Manchester, the best events in Taekwondo history.
“We are a taekwondo nation with passionate fans. I know they will be eager to come along again and watch the best athletes in the world showcase their talent at an event that signals an exciting new era for the sport here in the UK and across the globe.”
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Photo courtesy of GB Taekwondo, with thanks