The World Taekwondo Federation have confirmed that the recent qualification (28th-30th September) event for the Beijing Olympic Games in Manchester was the first ever international taekwondo tournament to be staged without a protest being lodged by a competing nation. For the first time in the WTF’s history all matches over the three days, which featured 320 athletes from more than 100 countries, passed without any players or coaches lodging a complaint over refereeing decisions.
France, Cuba, Canada, Italy and Chinese Taipei clinched two places each at the event while ten other countries each gained a qualification berth including Great Britain, who enjoyed success on the opening day of the event with +67kg athlete Sarah Stevenson securing her spot. Stevenson, who showed her very best form to reach the final, won the silver medal after electing to forfeit her final match because of concerns for a hand injury, sustained during the World Championships back in May.
Andrew Link, Event Director, commented: “The event was a resounding success and everyone involved can feel very proud that Britain was able to put on such an exciting spectacle of world-class taekwondo. It was the largest Olympic Qualification Event ever staged and our partners at the WTF have been delighted with all aspects of competition and organisation.”
“We could not have delivered this historic event, which has set a milestone in the sport’s history as the fairest on record, without the dedication from the many volunteers, BTCB staff and all event partners who worked so hard in the build up to, and throughout the week, and I would like to thank them for their hard work.”
Councillor Mike Kane, Manchester City Council's Executive member for Arts and Leisure, said: "The success of the Taekwondo event builds on Manchester's reputation for being the right place to hold such high profile and important sporting competitions. 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 and squash as part of Manchester World Sport 08."
Peter Mearns, Executive Director of Marketing at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), said: "The success of this tournament is a testament to the professionalism and hard work delivered by dedicated teams. It demonstrates how sporting venues in the Northwest can host outstanding world class events, all of which make a significant contribution to the regional economy. This achievement also boosts the Northwest's objective to support the delivery of the 2012 London Olympic Games."