The Chinese city of Wuxi will host a tournament starting tomorrow for qualification to the lucrative World Taekwondo (WT) Grand Slam Champions Series that will be held at the same venue at the end of this year.
This will be the third running of an event that prompted WT President Choue Chung-won to announce last December: “As a media showcase for taekwondo, as a benchmark for presentation and production and as a test laboratory for rule modifications, the Grand Slam points toward the future of our sport.”
The first qualification tournament – WT G-2 Open Qualification Tournament I – which will conclude on Sunday (April 28), will enable three athletes from each Olympic weight category to be selected for the Wuxi finale which will take place from December 17 to 22.
In a letter to all federations, Choue wrote: “Rest assured that the World Taekwondo and the Organising Committee will do their utmost to ensure the success of the WT G-2 Open Qualification Tournament I for Wuxi 2019 World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series.
“We look forward to seeing you all in Wuxi.”
World-class fighters, including previous Grand Slam winners and gold medallists in the year’s Grand Prix events, took part in the second WT Grand Slam Champions Series in Wuxi last December.
Winners received cash prices of $70,000 (£55,000/€61,590), runners-up won $20,000 (£15,865/€17,600) and bronze medallists earned $5,000 (£4,000/€4,400), making the Grand Slam the richest event in WT’s portfolio of tournaments.
The Grand Slam – featuring each of the four male and four female Olympic weight categories – is designed to maximise television exposure, so boasts the highest production values, WT claims.
The event does not take place in a stadium but in a custom-designed studio.
The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, near Shanghai, is investing heavily in sports, notably taekwondo.
In addition to the Grand Slam series, it will also host the 2021 World Championships.