Wuxi 2017 Grand Slam – Day 2: Dae-hoon Lee (KOR) and Gbagbi (CIV) clinch title of titles
Round by round results: click HERE
Men’s -68 kg
1 – Dae-hoon Lee (KOR) – 70,000 USD
2 – Yunfei Guo (CHN) – 20,000 USD
3 – Alexey Denisenko (RUS) – 10,000 US
Women’s -67 kg
1 – Ruth Gbagbi (CIV) – 70,000 USD
2 – Shuai Zhao (CHN) – 20,000 USD
3 – Hyeri Oh (KOR) – 10,000 USD
The second Saturday of the World Taekwondo (WT) Grand Slam 2017/18 series, which pits the best twelve athletes in each Olympic weight category against each other, was dominated by Dae-hoon Lee (KOR) and Ruth Gagbi (CIV), who became the M-68 and W-67 champions.
Gbagbi, third seed, defeated one of the local hopes of the day, Yunfei Guo, by 10-6 in a close final. The bronze medallist was no other than Heyri Oh, Rio 2016 champion, who was stopped by Guo on her way to the final but managed to reach the podium after outscoring Zhang from China by 32-16 in the repechage.
The number one seed Dae-hoon Lee (KOR) added another title to his large collection and confirmed he clearly is the athlete of the year after beating the local idol Shuai Zhao in an extreaordinay final by 53-14. Alexey Denisenko of Russia took the lower step of the podium after defeating the Iranian Mirhashem Hosseini for the bronze medal by only one point 15-14.
After the competition, Dr Choue, World Taekwondo (WT) President declared:
“The second weekend of this year’s Grand Slam series was a huge success. As we continue to tell the stories of elite players through this highly competitive event, we are also creating a more media-friendly, spectator-centric sport. There were some amazing performances today, with a number of stars born.
“I look forward with great anticipation to the next two editions in the coming weeks, and would like to take this opportunity to thank the impeccable Wuxi Organizing Committee for its hard work and dedication in hosting this event.”
Future of the competition
This year is the inaugural Grand Slam tournament, which is set to take place each year from now on. The series consists of eight separate tournaments (two per Saturday over four Saturdays) to represent each Olympic taekwondo weight category (four female, four male). The series is invitational, and brings together 12 premier athletes in each weight category.
For the 2017/2018 Grand Slam, the invited athletes in each tournament/category include the Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists, and two gold medallists from the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships (the world championships feature twice as many weight categories as the Olympics). The champions of the Grand-Prix Final from December 2017 are also invited, as are the three winners of the Grand-Prix Series held earlier in 2017 and the winner of the 2016 Grand-Prix Final.
If any of the above overlaps or any player drop out, the top eight will rounded out with the next player(s) in the WT Olympic rankings. In addition, the host country receives one wild card and the last three athletes in each tournament will be selected in a pre-Grand Slam qualification tournament. These last three athletes could come from other combat sport disciplines or any other styles – though in the qualification tournament and in the Grand Slam series, they will have to fight under World Taekwondo rules.