Taekwondokas to Test Their Mettle in China Grand Slam

The series is made up of eight separate tournaments to represent each Olympic taekwondo weight category. First place winners will receive $70,000, followed by $20,000 and $10,000 for second and third places respectively
 Abolfazl Yaghoubi (L), Farzan Ashourzadeh (C) and Mir-Hashem Hosseini Abolfazl Yaghoubi (L), Farzan Ashourzadeh (C) and Mir-Hashem Hosseini

Iranian female taekwondoka in +67kg, Zahra Pouresmaeil, will compete as the country’s first representative in the 1st World Taekwondo Grand Slam Championships in Wuxi City in China, Dec. 30-Jan. 27.

Pouresmaeil qualified for the games by winning the silver medal at the 2017 World Taekwondo G-1 Open Qualification Tournament in Seoul, South Korea, November 23-24, ISNA reported.

The taekwondoka’s honors include gold medals from the 2016 World Taekwondo Federation Junior Championships in Canada, and the 9th Asian Junior Championships in South Korea, 2017.

Four other athletes, namely Abolfazl Yaghoubi, Ebrahim Safari, Mir-Hashem Hosseini and Nahid Kiani have also qualified for Wuxi Grand Slam. The first two won silver while the others won bronze in Korea.

Sajad Mardani, gold winner of 2016 World Taekwondo Grand Prix and bronze winner of 2017 London Grand Prix in the +80kg category is also among the qualified practitioners.

Last but not least, Farzan Ashourzadeh, gold winner in the 2015 World Taekwondo Championships in Russia, 2014 Incheon Asian Games and 2014 Asian Taekwondo Championships in Uzbekistan is also qualified for the China games due to his No. 1 World Taekwondo Ranking.

Mahro Kamrani and Mehdi Bibak lead the women’s and men’s teams respectively.

World Taekwondo Federation has recently made new decisions based on which the competitions for each weight category will be held in separate weeks. This enables the participating teams to send practitioners in different weight categories to the competition in the span of a few weeks, and not a whole squad.

Wuxi, a city in southern Jiangsu Province, is set to host the new World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series up until 2020. In close consultation with World Taekwondo, the Wuxi Organizing Committee has created a purpose-built taekwondo venue for the series.

The purpose of the series is to professionalize and upgrade taekwondo’s commercial appeal and media profile.

Each year, it will consist of eight separate tournaments to represent each Olympic taekwondo weight category - four men’s and four women’s. First place winners will receive a $70,000 prize. Also, second and third place winners will receive $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.

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