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Other Sports - 13. February 2008.

BRITAIN TO STAGE FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL TAEKWONDO OPEN


Wednesday 13th February 2008

Britain will stage its first ever major taekwondo Open later this year when Manchester’s Sportcity plays host to The British International Open from 1st-2nd November. The creation of this major international tournament is further testament of Britain’s rapidly growing status within the Olympic sport, having successfully staged the World Olympic Qualifiers last year.

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Britain's Sarah Stevenson

The event, which will be open to both domestic and international athletes, is being supported by UK Sport and Manchester City Council. There will be no qualification process for aspiring competitors which means top British club athletes will have an invaluable opportunity to gain vital experience against Olympic, World and European Champions.

John Scott, International Director of UK Sport said “Setting up this annual event is an integral part of British taekwondo’s aim to become one of the top taekwondo nations in the world, allowing world class competition to take place on an annual basis in the UK. This event will allow all of the 16 British elite team members and the entire British Junior squad the opportunity to experience fighting on home soil in front of the home crowd.”

Councillor Mike Kane, Manchester City Council’s Executive member for Arts and Leisure, said: “Manchester will be thrilled to welcome this international event to our city in addition to the national championships already planned in September, especially after the success of the national championships at the end of last year .

“Over the next 12 months there will be many more fantastic opportunities to see world class sport in our world class city, including track cycling, swimming, football, running, paralympic events and squash as part of Manchester World Sport 08.”

Adrian Tranter, Chairman of the British Taekwondo Control Board (BTCB), commented: “It is with great pride that my tenure as Chairman coincides with Britain hosting its first ever international open. Taekwondo in Great Britain has enjoyed an unprecedented period of growth and success in recent years. Our elite Great Britain squad is one of the best in the world so it is fitting that we should be staging an international calibre tournament. The BTCB have worked hard over the past few years to promote Britain’s role within Europe and it is great that we will now be staging this annual tournament which will give all our athletes a chance to pit their skills against the best in the world.”

Other International Opens staged in Europe have often attracted fighters from over 50 countries including Asia, South America and Africa and have proved a vital stepping stone in developing the careers of Britain’s athletes. Great Britain enjoyed considerable success at last year’s German and Dutch Opens winning 12 medals which included four golds. These impressive performances have since been followed up with Britain qualifying three out of a possible four places for this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games.

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