Following the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix is back in Manchester October 24-26 and BBC Sport will again be screening live coverage across all three days.
Manchester Central will see 250 of the world’s top taekwondo athletes across eight different weight categories come together to battle it out not just for the Grand Prix title, but for vital qualification points ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which are now less than two years away.
The competition is the third leg of four global Taekwondo Grand Prix tour and will feature the very best Olympic and world champions from across the globe, including Great Britain’s Olympic medalists Jade Jones & Lutalo Muhammad, across three days of intense competition.
Grand Prix events so far this year have been held in the Chinese city of Suzhou and Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, with the globe-trotting tour finishing off in Mexico, with the city of Queretaro will be host the season ending Grand Prix Final in December.
All fighters who are ranked in the top six at the end of the qualification period in late 2015 will be guaranteed a place on their respective teams at the Rio Olympics, meaning every bout matters in the Grand Prix series from now until then.
Manchester hosted the first ever World Taekwondo Grand Prix event in December last year, an event which was broadcast live on the BBC and in 97 countries worldwide, with the hope of growing the sport’s popularity at elite level outside the Olympics, as well as provide welcome TV exposure.
Great Britain will send a 14-strong squad to the event, which will be headlined by Jade Jones, Team GB’s Olympic gold medallist from London 2012.
The Welshwoman will be aiming to end her search for a World Taekwondo Grand Prix title this weekend, having finished runner-up in the -57kg category last year, before following that up with another second place finish in the same category in the Astana event in August.
GB’s squad also includes 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad, who is attempting to recapture the form he had at last year’s Grand Prix in Manchester, when he came away with the -80kg title, after failing to finish inside the the top three in the two Grand Prix events so far this year.
Muhammad’s arch rival Aaron Cook, who was denied a London Olympic place after selectors controversially picked Muhammad instead of the then world number one, will also be competing in Manchester, though he will be wearing the colours of the Isle of Man instead of Team GB.
Other British names to look out for include heavyweight fighter Mahama Cho, who returns to defend his Manchester title, and -68kg fighter Martin Stamper, who is hoping to revive the form that saw him fight for a London 2012 bronze medal.
Watch some of the world’s finest taekwondo athletes in action at Manchester Central this weekend as Britain’s best fight it out for valuable ranking points in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
To experience the action live in Manchester, view the full Grand Prix schedule and find out more about ticket information, visit the official event website – taekwondogp.com.
BBC Sport will be screen all three days of Manchester’s World Taekwondo Grand Prix meeting live as the biggest names in the sport compete for the title across all categories.
Live coverage of the event will broadcast via BBC Red Button across all three day’s, available in all homes across the UK via digital, satellite, cable platforms, as well as Connected TVs.
Friday and Saturday’s competition is split into two sessions featuring preliminary matches, quarter finals, semi finals and finals whilst Sunday is one session which includes prelim matches and finals.
BBC Red Button will show around eight hours of live action across the weekend, featuring the semi-finals and finals from each of the day’s corresponding weight categories, with at least two hours of coverage per night.
Commentary on proceedings at Manchester Central will be provided by former taekwondo athletes Sarah Stevenson, who won Team GB’s first Olympic medal in the sport at Beijing 2008, alongside former British champion John Cullen.
In addition to extensive TV coverage, the World Taekwondo Grand Prix will also be streamed live online via the BBC Sport website, catering for both UK and international audiences, while BBC Radio 5 Live will broadcast regular updates from the event throughout the weekend in its sports bulletins.
In addition to BBC TV’s coverage, live streaming of every session from the event, including the morning preliminary sessions, will be available online via the World Taekwondo Federation’s YouTube channel.
.Friday 24th October DAY 1 – Stella Whitehead (-67kg) – Jade Slavin (+67kg) – Mahama Cho, Lyle Walker (+87kg) LIVE: 7.00pm-10.00pm BBC Red Button Saturday 25th October DAY 2 – Asia Bailey (-49kg) – Feyi Pearce (-58kg) – Lutalo Muhammad, Damon Sansum, Andy Deer, Aaron Cook (-80kg) LIVE: 7.00pm-10.00pm BBC Red Button Sunday 26th October DAY 3 – Rachelle Booth, Jade Jones (-57kg) – Jordan Gayle, Mike Harvey, Martin Stamper (-68kg) LIVE: 6.00pm-7.55pm BBC Red Button