PARIS, France (Aug. 30, 2023) - Paris, the capital of France, hosted the first Para Taekwondo Grand Prix of the season, just one year ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and it was a grand success.
Not just did the Para Taekwondoins got a flavour of the city ahead of the Paralympic Games, they made a strong point of their form ahead of the all-important World Championships and regional championships.
A total of 111 athletes from 30 countries, including Paralympic stars, and one Refugee Team as well as Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN) competed in the one-day event which was refereed by 71 officials.
Athletes competed across 10 K44 weight categories – five men and five women. The medallists of the W-47kg and W-65kg were lucky enough to be presented their medals by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons.
While thrilling fights stole the show in Paris, there were several surprising results with many athletes winning their first ever Grand Prix gold medals.
In K44 Men - 63 kg, the event witnessed the biggest upset when world number 1 Mahmut Bozteke from Turkiye was eliminated in the quarter-finals opening the doors for eventual champion Italy's Antonino Bossolo.
Bozteke lost to Mexico's Victor manuel Palacios Tadeo 7-9.
Bossolo, meanwhile, overcame Paralympic champion Nathan Torquato from Brazil in the semi-finals, before defeating Mongolia’s world champion Bolor-erdene Ganbat for his first Para GP gold.
With the win in the final, the Italian also avenged his defeat to the Mongolian in the World Para Taekwondo Open Challenge last week.
First GP gold
Croatia's Ivan Mikulic continued his good form from Rotterdam, when he triumphed in the European Para Championships, and claimed his first GP gold. The third ranked athlete defeated world no. 1 Evan Medell from USA in the K44 Men + 80kg final.
Turkiye also had winners in Ali Can Ozcan and Fatih Celik who emerged victorious in K44 M - 58kg and M - 70 kg, respectively.
World number 1 from Mexico Juan Diego Lopez Garcia was missing from the starting field and it opened up the M -70kg division. Meanwhile, Juan Argentina’s Eduardo Samorano put up a great show but was defeated by Celic in the final. This was also Celic’s first GP gold in Paris 2023.
Korea's Joo Jeonghun also earned his first GP gold in K44 M -80kg and should make a jump in the world rankings.
Gjessing, Truesdale emerge winners
In women's event, Denmark's Lisa Gjessing claimed her first gold Para GP gold medal overcoming top ranked Beth Munro in K44 W -65kg.
On the other hand Great Britain's Amy Truesdale received a boost ahead of the Worlds beating rival and Paralympic champion Guljonoy Naimova in K44 W +65kg finals.
Brazil shone with two gold medals thanks to the efforts of Silvana Mayara Cardoso (K44 W -57kg) and Maria eduarda Machado Stumpf, who emerged the surprise winner in K44 W -52kg.
The fourth ranked Machado Stumpf, who defeated Mongolia's Surenjav Ulambayar in the final, had shocked Turkiye’s Meryem Betul Cavdar in the semi-finals.
Among other winners were Mexico’s Claudio Romero who pulled of a convincing win even as refugee athlete Zakia Khudadadi faltered in the K44 Women – 47 kg quarter-finals.