Day two of the World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games saw the large crowd in Manchester’s MEN arena, which included Paralympic legend Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, treated to feast of top class taekwondo action, but hopes of home success were dashed when Tony Grisman (Kang Han Taekwondo Club, Mansfield) was knocked out of the -68kg division earlier this afternoon.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Britain, Sarah Stevenson (All Stars Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) who yesterday qualified for next summer’s Olympics, Grisman opened his account with a strong performance to beat Latvia’s Aleksejs Bliznakous. However Grisman came unstuck in his following bout losing to Yacomo Garcia of the Dominican Republic in what turned out to be a very tight match.
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson was in Manchester to offer some last minute support to sixteen year-old Aaron Cook who will take to the floor tomorrow in the -80kg category. Having shown himself to be an athlete of outstanding promise, Cook is one of sixteen young sportsman being supported by the Team Visa programme which is backed by Grey-Thompson and Sir Steve Redgrave.
Watching her first competitive taekwondo event, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson said, “It’s great to be in Manchester to watch this brilliant event. Although I can’t offer Aaron any technical tips on training my role is to provide him, and all the athletes on the programme, with support and advice on competing at the highest level.
“Both myself and Steve have competed at five Paralympics and Olympics respectively so it’s great to be able to pass on some of our experience. I’ve watched Aaron in training and I was amazed at the intensity of it and just how much he’s put through. Hopefully he can do well tomorrow!”
Andrew Link, Event Director commented, “It’s been another fantastic day and although the huge crowds didn’t get to see a home winner they have been treated to some world class performances from the very best taekwondo athletes in the world. Tomorrow promises to be another exciting day with Aaron competing, although he’ll have to be at his very best as he’s in the same category as Olympic Champion Steve Lopez.”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS