The Mancunion

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Sport in the City: The 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

There’s more to sport in Manchester than City and United: with this week’s spotlight on the 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

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Over the course of the academic year, as well as paying close attention to, and prioritising the progress and successes of, our university’s very own societies, teams and campus sports, let our new Sport in the City feature tempt you into a very different sporting day out. Whether it’s a new sport, a team about whom you did not know, or just an event that interests us, we hope that we will be able to entice you to explore the wide sporting variety that the city has to offer during your time studying at the University of Manchester.

In the spotlight this week: The 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

Well… what is it?

If a visit to Hyde United to view some non-league football or a trip to the National Cycling Centre to watch some BMX cycling wasn’t quite your thing, maybe my third instalment of Sport in the City might just be the kick you need to venture out and watch some local sporting activity. There is no specific art to getting out of bed, and it surely wouldn’t take much to marshal your flatmates to turn off Netflix, get their shoes on and make this weekend different to any other spent chilling in Manchester.

Between Friday 16th and Sunday 18th October, Manchester opens its arms and welcomes to the city the biggest event in the Taekwondo calendar: The 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix. Recognised as an Olympic sport since the year 2000, Taekwondo is a Korean martial art form that was developed during the 1940/50s, blending indigenous fighting forms such as taekkyeon, gwonbeop, and subak with an influence from foreign martial arts, too. The sport has since developed to become one of the most popular and widely-practiced martial art forms in the world, with some of the finest fighters in the field flocking to Manchester for this prestigious event.

How do I get there?

The Grand Prix will take place at the Etihad Campus at the Manchester Regional Arena, which is exactly two miles away from the student union. Therefore, from Manchester Piccadilly Gardens, there are several options of public transport that you can use to get to and from the Etihad Campus safely. With this event, I would advise the Metrolink tram service from Manchester Piccadilly, with fast and frequent services running on a regular basis. However if you’ve forked out for a UniRider, or simply just prefer to catch the bus from the city centre, the 216 and 231 services saunter directly to the Etihad Campus, again on a frequent basis. Please, however, do plan extra time for your journey, given that Manchester City, who are also based at the Etihad Campus, are at home on Saturday the 17th of October.

But how much does it cost to get in?

Sadly it appears that concessionary tickets are not for sale for this event, but given that the crème de la crème of the Taekwondo world are performing, we do not think that adult tickets priced from £10 upwards will leave a noticeable dent in your student loan. Standard adult tickets are available at £10 for Session One on the Saturday afternoon, with other sessions available and costing marginally more with standard seating. Group and weekend passes are also available, with a full price listed on the official event website here.

What are the facilities like? 

Housed next to the 55,000 seater Etihad Stadium, the Manchester Regional Arena has been developed and modified since its original use in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. As well the indoor athletics hall and modern sporting facilities where the Grand Prix will be held, the outdoor stadium attached to the venue is regularly used by local schools and societies for both educational and community events. The stadium itself, which holds up to 6,500 spectators, was previously the former home of the Manchester City reserve football team shortly after it was altered from its original state as the official warm up track for the 2002 games.

Tell me something I didn’t already know…

Unless you’re an active follower of competitions and events in the Taekwondo calendar, or perhaps somebody with an interest in the sport, it’s highly likely that there is very little you do actually know about the sport (myself included). Therefore it’s worth noting that at the upcoming Grand Prix, there will be at least 8 different Olympic gold-medal-winning individuals competing, including two time Olympic Champion Steven Lopez of the USA and British athlete Jade Jones, who reigned supreme in London 2012, winning the gold medal in the 57kg division. With regards to a wider view of the sport, the World Taekwondo Foundation are unable to say where in the world the sport is at its most popular, but suggest that there is a high demand for the sport in Iran, Mexico, Canada, China, USA, the United Kingdom and of course Korea.

Finally, when can I see this in action?

The 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix takes place between Friday the 16th and Sunday the 18th of October from 9am – 10pm on both Friday and Saturday and until 8pm on the final day of action. For more information please visit: http://taekwondogp.com

If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact: sports@mancunion.com.