Manchester is set to welcome taekwondo stars from all over the world as The National Squash Centre plays host to the BTCB’s inaugural British International Open taking place on 1st- 2nd November 2008. In action will be British Olympians Aaron Cook and Michael Harvey who competed in Beijing during August, while Britain’s first ever Olympic taekwondo medallist Sarah Stevenson will also be attending the event in an ambassadorial capacity due to an injury sustained during the games.
Aaron Cook (Scorpion Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) and local teenager Michael Harvey (Aces Taekwondo Club, Manchester) will be making their first competitive starts since returning from Beijing where they placed 4th and 7th respectively.
The event, open to both domestic and international athletes, is being supported by UK Sport and Manchester City Council and promises to be one of the sport’s most competitive competitions of the year.
Andrew Link, Operations Director of BTCB – Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd, commented, “After Sarah’s success in Beijing this is the perfect time for Britain to be hosting an international open. Our elite Great Britain squad is one of the best in the world so it is fitting that we should be staging an event like this. We have worked hard over the past few years to promote Britain’s role within Europe and it is great that we will now be staging this annual tournament which will give all our athletes a chance to pit their skills against the best in the world.”
Other International Opens staged in Europe have often attracted fighters from over 50 countries including Asia, South America and Africa and have proved a vital stepping stone in developing the careers of Britain’s athletes. Great Britain enjoyed considerable success at last year’s German and Dutch Opens winning 12 medals which included four golds. These impressive performances have since been followed up with Great Britain’s first Olympic medal in Taekwondo at this summer’s Beijing Games.