SUZHOU, China (July 2, 2014) - The Chinese city of Suzhou is ready for the 2014 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1.
The Suzhou Grand Prix event, scheduled for July 4-6 at the Suzhou Sports Center, is expected to attract a total of 236 top athletes from 57 countries. A total of 45 international referees are to officiate at the Suzhou Grand Prix, the first of three Grand Prix series set for this year.
Among the participating athletes are nine Olympic medalists, including three double Olympic medal winners - Steven Lopez of the United States, Kyung-seon Hwang of Korea and Wu Jingyu of China. The other gold medalists are Argentina's Sebastian Eduardo Crismanich, Great Britain's Jade Jones, Serbia's Milica Mandic and Italy's Carlo Molfeta, Korea's Dong-min Cha and Mexico's Maria Espinoza.
New WTF Competition Rules, which went into force as of July 1, 2014, will apply to this Suzhou event. When a contestant receives 10 Kyong-go or five Gam-jeom, on in the event of any combination of Kyong-go and Gam-jeom that add up to five penalty points, the referee shall declare the contestant loser by penalties, according to the new rules. The previous rules were eight Kyong-go and four Gam-jeom.
The other changed rule is the golden point and decision of superiority. In the event that neither contestant has scored a point after the completion of the fourth round, the winner shall be decided by superiority based on the following criteria. The contestant who achieved a higher number of hits registered by the PSS during the 4th round. If number of hits registered by the PSS is tied, the contestant who received less numbers of Kyong-go and Gam-jeom during all four rounds. If the two above criteria are the same, the referee and judges shall determine superiority based on the content of the 4th round. If the superiority decision is tied among the referee and judges, the referee shall decide the winner.
Also Kyong-go will be given to the contestant who falls down in most cases and lifts the knee to block and/or impede the opponent’s kicking attack, or lifting a leg to impede the opponent’s attacking movements without execution of any kicking movements.
The Suzhou event features eight Olympic weight categories, four male and four female: the men's -58kg, the men's -68kg, the men's -80kg and the men's +80kg; the women's -49kg, the women's -57kg, the women's -67kg and the women's +67kg.
Three octagonal-shaped courts will be used, with semifinal and final matches scheduled to take place at the center court. Daedo protector and scoring system (PSS) and an instant video replay system will be used.
For the first time, cash prize will be given to the top four athletes in each weight categories: $5,000 for the gold medalist, $3,000 for the silver medalists, and $1,000 for the two bronze medal winners.
The maximum number of athletes per weight category is 32. Top 31 athletes per Olympic weight category based on their April 2014 WTF Olympic rankings are invited, while one athlete from host China is additionally invited. A maximum quota per member national association is two athletes per weight division.
The head of team meeting and the drawing of lots session took place at the New City Garden Hotel in downtown Suzhou on July 2, two days before the opening of the event.
The opening ceremony of the Suzhou Grand Prix is scheduled for in the afternoon of July 4 at the venue.
"The Grand Prix is an exciting new concept in international taekwondo competition, inaugurated last December in Manchester, the United Kingdom. Our ambition with the Grand Prix is to provide an arena for taekwondo's finest athletes to raise the sport's visibility, and to realize taekwondo's fullest potential worldwide," said WTF President Chungwon Choue.
"Taekwondo is a sport embraced by the Chinese. It is our great pleasure to host such a significant World Taekwondo Grand Prix, in consideration of the high technical level of the event. I wish to express my appreciation to the WTF for their trust in us as well as their active participation," said Li Qiang, president of the Chinese Taekwondo Association.