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WTF SG confirms Grand Prix Series project

WTF SG confirms Grand Prix Series project

The Secretary General of the World Taekwondo Federation, Jean-Marie Ayer, confirmed during an exclusive interview with WTM that the WTF has officially approved the creation of a new competition that will enable the best athletes in the world face each other more often from 2014: the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series.
Ayer revealed that the approval of the new contest was made during the last WTF Executive Committee meeting, celebrated at the 2012 WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships, held in Santa Cruz (Aruba) between last Thursday November 22nd and Sunday the 25th. “The WTF council gave green light to the Grand Prix Series in the last session in Aruba. The details need to be worked out now by a dedicated working group”, declared WTF SG.

Jean-Marie Ayer on the left hand side of the picture, with WTF President Chung Won Choue, Richard Bisser (Aruban Minister of Sports) and José Chaco Cornelio (President of TKD Aruba), during Aruba 2012

But what is the WTF trying to achieve with the inclusion of this new event to its calendar? Ayer highlights four main objectives. “First of all, we want to have the best Taekowndo athletes competing against each other more often. This will help us reach the second goal, which is the reinforcement of the WTF World Rankings. Apart from that, we also pursue an increase on the media exposure of our Sport and athletes, which we hope will enable us to have a marketable event that will generate revenues”.
The Secretary General of the WTF told WTM that the forecast for the start of the Grand Prix Series could be only one year away. “Our objective is to start early 2014 at the latest”, stated Ayer. The competition is to take place five times a year in different venues so that it becomes a worldwide event.

Female gold medal holders at London 2012: Mandic, Jones, Wu and Hwang

As the WTF wants the Grand Prix Series to be a star competition on its calendar, they´re planning on placing the event at a similar level to the Olympics and the World Championships, which would award the winners with a big amount of points in the rankings. “We haven’t decided the exact category of the Grand Prix Series yet, but It will be a top ranked event similar to the World Championships and Olympics”, said Ayer.
As for any other top ranked competition, qualifying for the Grand Prix Series won’t be an easy challenge. Questioned about the qualification system, Ayer delcared that “despite the details of the qualification still need to be defined, it will most likely be open to the 32 best athletes of each Olympic weight category as defined by the World Rankings at the beginning of a calendar year. The working group will make proposals to find the best way”.

Male gold medal holders at London 2012: Crismanich, González, Tazegul and Molfetta

The SG of the WTF wanted to make very clear that the inclusion of the Grand Prix Series on the WTF’s calendar won’t mean the exclusion of other relevant events which have been regularly celebrated. “The objective is to add a serie of events for the top athletes. We want to encourage their participation to several events per year, not to cause an adverse effect on other tournaments”, finalized.
The WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series will try to have a bigger impact than the WTF World Taekwondo Tour, which was created trying to reach similar goals but following a different format, as it brought together not the 32 but the 16 best athletes of each category and only once a year. The WTF World Taekwondo Tour was celebrated in Mexico in 2009 and Moscow in 2010.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest news about the Grand Prix Series. Stay connected!
Pau Aguilar
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