Update : Saturday, February 24, 2018
Wuxi WT Grand Slam Champions Series finally unveiledReady to show new GS champions following Grand Prix… Key to success
  • Teak Jin Yang
  • Approval 2018.01.05 13:42
  • comments 0

The inaugural edition of the Wuxi 2017 World Taekwondo(WT) Grand Slam Champions Series kicks off at the Wuxi Taihu International Expo Center in Wuxi, China on December 30.

The Grand Slam Series offers the biggest prize money in taekwondo history, USD70,000 for first place winners, and its total prize money for every three years is USD800,000, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The male -80kg division’s twelve fighters were introduced to audiences at the main venue before competitions.

The inaugural event features World’s Top 12 taekwondo athletes of each Olympic weight categories including champions of Rio Olympic Games, 2017 Muju World Championships, 2017 Grand Prix Series, and winners who have decided by the rules of Qualification Tournament.

The Grand Slam - using a newly innovative promotion method – was covered by 39 online platforms, rather than the usual taekwondo events.

And special prize money, USD40,000, for the seven parts of prizes, including ‘the Best Style Award’.

The Grand Slam was launched to build up taekwondo’s media accessibility and popularization, in China since 2013.

The new competition venue has been custom-designed for TV, expecting audience of millions via terrestrial and online TV.

The main venue - picking out only one male and female winners every Saturday - equipped with thunderous audio, dancers jiving between matches, and ring girls announcing the rounds.

On the first day, China's crowd cheered Aaron Cook of Moldova, Bianca Walkden of Great Britain, and Team Korea’s Nam-goong Hwan, continuing their passionate support.

All scenes of the winners' ceremony and the home crow responding to the performance are recorded and broadcasted on CCTV.

WT initially use their 4-D cameras that provide 360-degree images from the second Grand Slam Series on 6 January.

The Wuxi Organizing Committee - co-hosting with WT - will secure the missing parts of the first edition of the Grand Slam Series at the second Series next Saturday, Jan. 6.

If successful, the Grand Slam is expected to have a considerable impact on international taekwondo market, including Korea and the growing China markets.

As the Grand Prix series has already become a seasonal event since 2013, some host countries are leading the culture of Taekwondo.

Especially, one of sport advanced countries - United Kingdom - is trying to activate taekwondo marketing and sponsorship, and nurture their star players.

Bianca Walkden, who captured USD70,000 prize money, is fearfully pleased with cheering spectators.

For example, Great Britain’s Bianca Walkden was nominated for the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award: one of sport’s most prestigious awards.

Europe is kwon as 'world capital of sport'. Especially, the United Kingdom secured the beachhead to develop their taekwondo.

In addition, as 1.4 billion Chinese people is just entering the times of mass consumption, if China successfully holds the event, it will greatly affect the evolution of China’s taekwondo.

China has four or five times more taekwondo clubs than Korea, achieving its economies of scale. And the outcome of the mega sport event will judge if they can pauperize taekwondo themselves in China.

Above all, there is a point to be noted, before verify the success of the event. In fact, taekwondo has already promoted itself worldwide.

But Korea is still struggle to communicate with public and its limited media accessibility, despite the success of the 2017 Muju World Taekwondo Championships. And The birthplace of taekwondo still cannot move forward from the framework of taekwondo.

Therefore, Korea must analyze the world’s current trends objectively, and find a way to improve the situation and to lead the internationalized value ​​and culture.

There are some drawbacks to succeed in the Grand Slam Series.

Some cultural contents, which can establish common ground worldwide, may need to be prepared, if the chinese mega event finish successfully by establishing the common ground and creating entertainment contents.

It is necessary to improve stability of the scoring system of electronic protectors to be suitable for TV, and strengthen its expertise based on various data sources to show taekwondo competitions more interestingly.

Also, new competition rules still need to be changed for athlete’s offensive movements during the games.

If the remaining six Olympic weight categories are contested successfully over successive Saturdays, we would see great advancement of taekwondo. The series concludes on Jan. 27 2018, with its team championships.

Teak Jin Yang  tkdnews@korea.com

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