Paris 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix: Top things you need to know about the Olympic qualifier

Preview, schedule, stars to look out for and how to watch the 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix to held on September 2-4. Olympic Channel will be livestreaming the event, which offers ranking points towards qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

By Evelyn Watta

Four Olympic champions are among the stars that will compete at the Paris 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix from 2-4 September.

The Grand Prix is an important stop on the road to Paris 2024 Olympics as the 256 invited athletes have a chance to achieve Olympic qualification ranking points.

There will also be one refugee team competing across four men and women's categories.

Paris is the second of the three legs of the 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix season after Rome with Manchester to follow. The final then takes place in Wuxi, China.

Here are the key things you need to know, from the stars to watch out for, what to expect from the first stop of #RoadToParis2024 for taekwondo, how to follow the action from Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan in Levallois, the schedule, and more.

READ MORE: How to qualify for taekwondo at Paris 2024. The Olympics qualification system explained

Probable Olympic rematches in Paris

The 2022 Paris Grand Prix will offer fans a chance to relive some of the contests from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tatami in 2021.

A total of 22 Tokyo Olympic medallists will be in action.

All the podium finishers from the women’s flyweight (-49kg) and welterweight (-57kg) competitions will be in action, led by history makers Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand and Croatia’s Matea Jelic who became the first taekwondo athletes from their nations to take home Olympic gold.

Top-ranked Wongpattanakit in the -49kg goes in as the favourite ahead of current world no. 2 Adriana Cerezo who she beat in the Olympic final.

The Thai champ won her third straight taekwondo gold at May’s Southeast Asian Games.

Spanish teen Cerezo has also maintained her Olympic shape, opening her season with a couple of Open wins in Sofia and Sweden, a bronze at the European Championships in Manchester, and victory at her first ever grand prix in Rome last June.

The 19-year-old ‘wonder girl’ who won Olympic silver in her Games debut will be joined in Paris by Serbia’s Tijana Bogdanovic and Israel's Avishag Semberg, the Tokyo bronze medallists.

Jelic, who won the Mediterranean Games last July, is the top pick for the women’s -67kg.

Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Lauren Williams, as well as Ivorian Ruth Gbagbi, the two-time bronze medallist from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, will also be competing.

The presence of local star Magda Wiet Henim, currently second in the world rankings after a series of wins including the Roma Grand Prix, should thrill the home fans.

Watch out for Sarah Chaari of Belgium (W-67kg) and Sude Yaren Uzunchvdar (W+67kg) both of whom won gold at the Sofia 2022 World Taekwondo Junior Championship weeks ago. Turkey's Sude Yaren was named the most valuable female player at the Juniors.

Britain's double Olympic -57kg gold medallist Jade Jones,and three-time world +73kg champ Bianca Walkden remain hungry for titles and are keen to boost their qualification hopes for the next Olympic Games.

"It's all super important points to qualify for Paris 2024 - I have to make sure I am winning medals consistently,” Jones said in an interview with the Leader ahead of the Grand Prix event.

Besides Jones, the women’s -57kg will also feature the reigning Olympic gold medallist Anastasia Zolotic.

The American teenager opened her season in Rome where she lost to Jones in the semis and had to settle for bronze.

Walkden, number one in the women’s +67kg ranking is targeting the podium after winning the Euros and struggling at the last Grand Prix where she could only manage ninth.

Also set for Paris are Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Dabin Lee, and France's Olympic bronze medallist Althea Laurin who will be chasing a home win.

Simone Alessio: "The man to beat" in Paris

In the men’s event, the focus will also be on another history-maker Ulugbek Rashitov the first Uzbek to win gold in taekwondo at the Olympic Games in the -68kg class.

Top seed Jun Jang of Republic of Korea is the favourite in the men’s -58kg.

The bronze medallist from Tokyo has been unbeaten this season, winning the Fujairah Open in the UAE and the Turkish Open before clinching the title in Rome.

Also keep an eye on Tunisia’s Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi, second at Tokyo 2020.

Jordan’s Saleh Elsharabaty, the second man from his country to win an Olympic medal - the silver from Tokyo - leads the charge in the men’s -80kg.

Jordan's Saleh Elsharabaty, the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist.
Picture by GETTY IMAGES

In-form Simone Alessio, the reigning European champ and Rome Grand Prix winner, is unbeaten since November 2021.

The first Italian to win a world title in taekwondo in 2019 has greatly improved technically.

Alessio defeated Seif Eissav, the Egyptian who denied him an Olympic medal in the -80kg category, in the Italian capital.

"My tactics are different from the Olympics. Before I was more offensive, the Egyptian set the trap for me and scored a throw-in. In Rome, I defeated him by changing my way of fighting," Alessio said in an interview with Italy's Oas Sport.

"Now I'm the man to beat, definitely. It's like when football teams play against Juventus. My opponents give their all and know that they have to work hard to annoy me. It is up to me to prove myself stronger and stronger."

Eissav and fellow Tokyo 2020 Bronze medallist Croatia’s Toni Kanaet are both confirmed for the Paris Grand Prix.

Reigning Pan American taekwondo champion Icaro Miguel Martins Soares returns to Europe seeking a win after a fifth place in Roma. The Brazilian star tops the listing in the absence of world number one and Olympic champion Vladislav Larinv of Russia.

The winner from Rome, Turkey’s Emre Kutalmis Atelsi will be back on the mat as well as Cuba’s Rafael Alba, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist.

READ MORE: The competition schedule for Olympic Games Paris 2024 has been released

Paris 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix schedule of competition from Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan (all times CEST, UTC+2)

September 2

9:00 – 13:00 – women’s 49kg, women’s -57kg, men’s -58kg

14:00 – 17:00 – Round of 16 and quarterfinals-women’s 49kg, women’s -57kg, Men’s -58kg

17:30-20:00 – Semi-finals and finals- women’s 49kg, women’s -57kg, men’s -58kg

September 3

9:00-13:00 – women’s -67kg, women’s -68, men’s -80kg

14:00 -17:00 – Round of 16 and quarterfinals women’s -67kg, men’s -68, men’s -80kg

17:30 -20:00 – Semi-finals and finals- women’s -67kg, men’s -68, men’s -80kg

September 4

9:00 -12: 00 - Women’s +67kg, men’s +80kg

13:00 - 15: 00 - Round of 16 and quarterfinals - women’s +67kg, men’s +80kg

15:30 -17:30 – Semi-finals and finals- women’s +67kg, men’s +80kg

How to watch Paris 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix

You can catch action from the Paris 2022 World Taekwondo grand prix live on the Olympic Channel via Olympics.com here (territorial restrictions apply).

There will be a live stream of the Paris Grand Prix on the World Taekwondo YouTube page.

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