Over 100 of the world’s best Para Taekwondo athletes. 19 current or former world champions. Four reigning Paralympic champions.
When World Taekwondo launched its inaugural Para Grand Prix Series – this is what it had in mind.
The last leg of the inaugural Para Grand Prix Series will take place in Manchester, Great Britain on 20 October and will draw the most competitive field since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Several teams and fighters are making their long-awaited returns to international competitions, including Peru’s Paralympic champion Leonor Angelica Espinoza, Nepal’s Asian Youth Para Games champion Palesha Goverdhan, and Great Britain’s 2019 world champion Matt Bush. After missing the Paris Para GP, Great Britain’s former world champion Amy Truesdale is expected to make a return, as are teams from Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand.
If the first two Para GP events in Sofia, Bulgaria and Paris, France are any indication, Para Taekwondo fans are in for a treat.
Home Cooking for Host Great Britain
If history is any indicator, hosting the Para Grand Prix could be a boon to the team from Great Britain.
Several of the biggest moments in Great Britain’s Para Taekwondo history happened on home soil. Amy Truesdale won her first world championship in London in 2017, while Beth Munro and Joe Lane won their first European championships in Manchester earlier this year.
2019 world champion Matt Bush will make his return to competition for the first time since winning the European Paralympic Qualification tournament last summer. In top shape after rehabbing a serious knee injury, he won’t have to face Croatia’s Paralympic silver medalist Ivan Mikulic, who was forced to withdraw due to his own injury.
While Great Britain’s Para Taekwondo fighters have risen to the occasion at home in previous tournaments, the Para GP could be a different experience. After hosting the last Para GP, France’s former world champion Bopha Kong and Afghan refugee Paralympian Zakia Khudadadi, who lives and trains with France’s team, both cited nerves as factor in their performances at their home GP.
“My first fight on French soil put a lot of pressure on me” Khudadadi told the French Taekwondo Federation after failing to medal in Paris, “This made it a lot harder to fight in Paris than in another country”.
Source and image: www.worldtaekwondo.org