As the birthplace of taekwondo in the UK, Manchester can become Europe’s number one location for the sport according to the president of the World Taekwondo Federation.
South Korea’s Choue Chung-won told MM at last weekend’s World Taekwondo Grand Prix that the enthusiasm for his sport he witnessed at Manchester Central had left a profound impression.
The best fighters in the world compete in grands prix worldwide, including Team GB’s own Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones, who was also a main attraction at last year’s inaugural event.
Dr Choue said: “We had the first grand prix championship here in Manchester in 2013, so the city is like the birthplace of the Taekwondo Grand Prix and also UK taekwondo.
“I think taekwondo is really growing in the UK. There are many talented athletes in the sport and with the support we’ve seen this weekend Manchester can become the centre of taekwondo in Europe.
“We’ve had great support here – the people of Manchester have shown great support and clearly love taekwondo.”
Last weekend Jones claimed silver in the -57kg category but came within inches of winning the event, losing the final on a sudden-death golden point to long-time Spanish rival Eva Calvo Gomez.
The Manchester crowd also witnessed the emergence of newcomer Rachelle Booth, as the Wigan native caused a string of upsets on her way to a quarter-final berth.
Dr Choue, who received his taekwondo black belt in the Korean army in the 1960s, said the depth of British talent would serve the country well going forward in what is an unpredictable sport.
“Jade Jones is a very good fighter, and she’s still young so she could even win another gold medal in the Rio Olympic Games.
“The most talented fighters from all over the world have been invited here and have performed very well so for both British fighters (Jones and Booth) they’ve done very well.
“Taekwondo has really become a universal sport and because there is so much talent all over the world so it’s difficult to predict who will win each competition.”
Main image courtesy of World Taekwondo Federation via YouTube, with thanks.