Moscow, Russia (August 12, 2015) - The Russian capital of Moscow is ready for the 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1 to be held on August 14-16, 2015.
The Grand Prix events of 2015 - subsequent series take place in Samsun, Turkey; Manchester, the U.K. and the finals in Mexico City, Mexico - are key events on taekwondo athletes' "road to Rio" 2016.
The three-day Grand Prix event, the first to be held in Russia, will take place at the Dinamo Krylatskoye Gymnasium in northwestern Moscow, drawing 245 top athletes from 52 countries; 50 international referees will officiate at the event.
Among the participating athletes are nine male and 11 female Olympic medalists. The nine male Olympians include four gold medal winners - Turkey's Servet Tazegul in London at -68kg; Spain's Joel Gonzalez Bonilla in London at -58kg; Korea's Dong-min Cha in Beijing at -80kg; and Italy's Carlo Molfetta in London at +80kg. The 11 female Olympic medalists include four gold medalists - Great Britain's Jade Jones in London at -57kg; Korea's Kyung-seon Hwang both in Beijing and London at -67kg; Serbia's Milica Mandiz in London at +67kg; and Mexico's Maria Espinoza in Beijing at +67kg.
The Moscow 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. A KP&P protector and scoring system (PSS) and an instant video replay system, with three linked cameras, will be used.
Together with medals, cash prizes 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. The top 31 athletes per Olympic weight category, based on their July 2015 WTF Olympic rankings, are invited, while one athlete from host Russia is additionally invited. The maximum quota per member national association is two athletes per weight division.
The head of team meeting took place at the Korston Hotel in downtown Moscow on August 12, two days before the opening of the event.
"I expect the Moscow Grand Prix Series 1 will serve as an opportunity for the top elite athletes to display their skills. Also I hope all invited athletes will come and enjoy the thrilling moments of competition and friendship in Moscow," said WTF President Chungwon Choue.
Anatoly Terekhov, president of the Russian Taekwondo Union, said, "The Moscow Grand Prix Series 1 is the highest level tournament where the best out of the best athletes have their great chance to challenge for the first prizes of the championships, as well as to gain their opportunity in the most prestigious games of the world."
"The World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series 1 is one of the most significant steps on the Olympic way toward Rio 2016," Terekhov said.