Manchester, eager for kick-off of 2014 GP Series 3
The British city of Manchester is ready for the kick-off of the 2014 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 3.
The Manchester Grand Prix event, scheduled for Oct. 24-26, 2014, will be held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. The complex was used as the venue for the inaugural WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix final in December 2013.
A total of 237 top athletes from 59 countries are expected to compete for top honors at the three-day event. Among the participating athletes are six male and four female Olympic gold medalists. Fifty international referees will officiate at the event.
The six male Olympic gold medal winners are Servet Tazegul of Turkey, the gold medalist in the men’s -68kg division at the 2012 London Olympic Games; Joel Gonzalez Bonilla of Spain, the gold medalist in the men’s -58kg class at the 2012 London Olympic Games; Sebastian Crismanich of Argentina, the gold medalist in the men’s -80kg at the 2012 London Olympic Games; Steven Lopez of the United States, the gold medalist in the men’s -80kg category both at the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Olympic Games; Dong-min Cha of Korea, the gold medalist in the men’s +80kg at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; and Carlo Molfetta of Italy, the gold medalist in the men’s +80kg at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
At the Manchester Grand Prix, Spain’s Gonzalez Bonilla competes in the -68kg weight category.
The four female Olympians are Jade Jones of Great Britain, the gold medalist in the women’s -57kg division at the 2012 London Olympics; Kyung-seon Hwang of Korea, the gold medalist in the women’s -67kg class at both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games; Milica Mandic of Serbia, the gold medalist in the women’s +67kg at the 2012 London Olympic Games; and Maria del Rosario Espinoza of Mexico, the gold medalist in the women’s +67kg at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The Grade-4 Manchester Grand Prix series event, the third and final of its kind this year, features four male and four female Olympic weight divisions: the -49kg, -57kg, -67kg and +67kg in the female division; the -58kg, -68kg, -80kg and +80kg in the male category.
For the first time ever at WTF-promoted event, PSS (protector and scoring system) head gears, or e-head gears, will be used at the Manchester Grand Prix to ensure fair judging and refereeing.
The maximum number of athletes per Olympic weight division is 32 for the Grand Prix series. Top 31 athletes per Olympic weight category, based on WTF Olympic ranking of August this year, are invited, while one athlete from the host country is additionally invited. A maximum quota per member national association is two athletes per weight category.
All ranked athletes will be seeded this time, except that athletes of the host country will receive the No. 9 seed, when they are not in the top 8 rankings.
For a better Field of Play (FOP) environment, only two athletes and a center referee will be on the competition mat for the first time ever, while three corner judges and two coaches will be seated just behind A-boards set up just outside the mat.
The gold medal winners will receive a prize money of $5,000 each, while the silver medalists will earn $3,000 and the bronze medalists $1,000 each.