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Other Sports - 27. September 2007.

OLYMPIC TAEKWONDO DREAMS SET TO ME MADE OR SMASHED IN MANCHESTER THIS WEEKEND


The tournament, which will be the largest ever taekwondo event staged in Britain, will feature all the world’s leading athletes, including the legendary Lopez family, Steve, Mark and Diana who created sports history at the 2005 World Championships when they all won gold, making them the first trio of siblings to win World Championships in the same sport in the same year.

With just four athletes from each country allowed to take part in the event, and the top three in each category achieving qualification for Beijing, competition is sure to be fierce. Flying the flag for Britain will be former World Champion and three time European Champion, Sarah Stevenson (All Stars Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) who will be competing in the +67kg division on Friday; Louise Mair (Focus Martial Arts, Elgin), who will be aiming for glory in the -49kg category on Friday; three-time British Champion, Tony Grisman (Kang Han Taekwondo Club, Mansfield), who will be taking part in the -68kg division on Saturday; and sixteen year-old sensation Aaron Cook (Scorpion Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) who will take to the floor in the -80kg category on Sunday.

Action for the qualifying rounds on each of the three days will be held between 10.00am and 4.00pm, with the semis and finals being contested between 5.00pm and 6.30pm. Visitors to the opening day tomorrow will also have the added bonus of seeing the spectacular opening ceremony at 4.00pm, which will feature a series of colourful entertainment, including a stunning acrobatic display from the world’s premier taekwondo display team, The Korean Tigers.

Andrew Link, Event Director, said, “With over 200 million people practicing taekwondo around the globe it is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the world. That growth has been mirrored here in Britain where we have enjoyed great success on the international stage in recent years, having risen from 88th to 11th in the world rankings.

“The opportunity to stage an event of this magnitude is a wonderful showcase for taekwondo in the UK and hopefully not only will we be able to secure qualification for Beijing but take the sport to a whole new audience and increase its popularity.”.

Peter Mearns, Executive Director of Marketing at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), an event partner, said: “It is a fantastic coup for Manchester to be hosting the WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Visitors and athletes will see what Manchester and the region has to offer and a significant boost will be given to the regional economy. This event demonstrates how the Agency is working hard with partners to bring such major sporting events to the Northwest

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