Last big event of the year offers precious metal, precious ranking points
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Dec. 9, 2022) - 2022 is coming to an action-packed end as Taekwondo’s elite compete toe to toe, kick to kick, at the 2022 Riyadh World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final.
The event is the first GP Final to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic, and the first time any GP event has been held in Saudi Arabia.
Today, the preliminaries in all eight Olympic weight categories – four man, four women – were contested today in Riyadh’s Green Hall Stadium. Tomorrow, all medal contests take place. The battles lined up to deliver tomorrow’s golds, silvers, and valuable ranking points on the path to Paris 2024, are as follows:
W-49kg: Panipak Wongpattanakit (Thailand) vs. Merve Dincel (Turkiye)
M-80kg: Simone Alessio (Italy) vs. Geon-woo Seo (Korea)
W+67kg: Bianca Cook (GB) vs. Sude Yaren Uzuncavdar (Turkiye)
M-58kg: Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi (Tunisia) vs. Jun Jang (Korea)
W-57kg: Zongshi Luo (China) vs. Hatice Kubra Ilgun (Turkiye)
M+80kg: Cheick Sallah Cisse (Cote d’Ivoire) vs. Carlos Sansores (Mexico)
W-67kg: Mengyu Zhang (China) vs. Julyana Al-Sadeq (Jordan)
M-68kg: Ulugbek Rashitov (Uzbekistan) vs. Zaid Kareem (Jordan)
To honor the location of the event, a special presentation was made to seven Saudi athletes who have competed at the highest levels of the sport.
They included players in the Olympics, the Youth Olympics, the Cadet and Junior World Championships - and Saudi’s most successful-ever Taekwondo athlete, Dunya Ali Abutaleb, who won bronze at last month’s World Championships in Guadalajara. She was described as a “history maker” by the announcer.
Final preparations are also underway for tomorrow night’s 2022 World Taekwondo Gala Awards, to be held at Riyadh’s Al Khozama Hall. It will be the first time this fixture has been held since the pandemic.
The gala dinner gives the sport’s stars the opportunity to exchange sweaty sportswear for dinner suits and party dresses; the awards give WT the opportunity to recognize the year’s top personalities.
Awards are offered in a range of fields, including, most notably, Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, and Best Kick of the Year. Additionally, awards for Best Para Male Athlete and Best Para Female Athlete will be inaugurated on the night.
Awardees in the above gala categories are chosen by peer vote, via a secret ballot that takes place onsite, bar “Kick of the Year” which is chosen by the WT Technical Committee.