Wuxi to be long-term host of new World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series

The Chinese city of Wuxi has been confirmed as the host for the newly-formed World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series through to 2020.

The event, which was initially unveiled last month, has been organised by World Taekwondo and will debut at a purpose-built venue in Wuxi this December. It is hoped the series will help create global taekwondo stars, with significant monetary prizes to be up for grabs.

The first edition of the Grand Slam series, which has been backed financially by Shanghai Jijin Investment Company, will comprise eight tournaments and will run until early 2018. Each of the Olympic taekwondo weight categories (four male, four female) will be represented at the series.

The total prize money on offer during the 2017-18 season will be $800,000 (€687,000), with the winner in each tournament to receive $70,000. Silver medallists will pick up $20,000, while bronze medallists will receive $10,000.

The invitational series will bring together 12 premier athletes in each tournament/weight category. For the inaugural series, gold medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics will be invited to compete, as well as two gold medallists from this year’s World Championships, which feature twice as many weight categories as the Olympics.

Others to be invited will include the champion of the Grand-Prix Final in December, the three winners of the Grand-Prix Series held earlier this year, and the winner of the 2016 Grand-Prix Final. Should any of the invitees overlap, or should any athlete drop out, places will be offered to the next athlete, or athletes, in the World Taekwondo Olympic rankings.

The host country will also be granted one wild card, with the last three athletes in each tournament/weight category to be selected through a pre-Grand Slam qualification tournament. World Taekwondo said these athletes could come from other combat sport disciplines.

World Taekwondo president Chungwon Choue said: “We are very excited to announce the Grand Slam series, and we hope (for) more media exposure than they have ever had before.”