Spain and Russia grabbed one gold medal each on the third and final day of the 2013 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in Manchester, the United Kingdom on 15 December, 2013.
After three days of competitions at the inaugural 2013 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, Russia topped other countries in the overall medal tally as it took home two gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal.
Host Great Britain came next with two golds and one silver, followed by Spain with two golds, Chinese Taipei with one gold and one silver, and Sweden with one gold. Korea came next with three silvers and one bronze, while Brazil and Canada clinched one silver each.
A total of 231 athletes from 59 countries competed for top honors at the 2013 World Taekwondo Grand Prix final, which took place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.
In the women's -57kg category, Spain's Eva Calvo Gomez brushed aside a stiff challenge from Great Britain's Jade Jones to win the final match 4-3 for the gold medal.
Calvo Gomez, the bronze medalist at the 2013 Puebla World Championships and the 2010 Spanish Open gold medal winner, reached the final match by edging down France's Floriane Liborio in a fourth golden-point round.
Jade Jones, the gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the silver medalist at the 2011 Gyeongju World Championships, came from behind to beat China's Yuzhuo Hou in a semifinal match to advance to the final match.
In the men's -68kg final match, Russia's Alexey Denisenko, the bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the gold medalist at the 2013 Russia Open, earned his country the gold medal as he managed to defeat Canada's Maxime Potvin 1-0.
Denisenko made it to the final match by beating Iran's Behnam Asbaghikhanghah 5-4, while Potvin, the silver medalist at the 2009 World Championships and the gold medalist at the 2012 Pan American Championships, reached to the final match as he outpointed Iran's Bagheri Motamed 3-0.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been awarded the highest, ninth rank in the Korean martial art taekwondo.
The rank, along with a black belt and a corresponding certificate, was granted to the sporty Russian leader by Choue Chung-won, the head of the World Taekwondo Federation, during his trip to South Korea. Mr. Putin appeared flattered as he confessed he hadn’t deserved such a high rank. "Let’s call it our campaign to popularize this wonderful martial art," he said. "Russia will do its best to contribute to its popularity at home."
Only chosen few have so far been awarded the highest taekwondo rank, known as "dan." Among them are presidents of the US, Indonesia, Honduras, Spain, Croatia and Pakistan.
The Korean sensei, Choue Chung-won, said his organization was aware that the Russian leader was fond of and actively practiced martial arts. He said Russian martial artists ranked very high globally.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which combines combat and self-defense techniques with exercise. It is popular among 70 to 80 million practitioners in 205 countries.
WTF President Chungwon Choue has offered to set up a WTF-designated regional taekwondo training center in Russia and Vitaly L. Mutko, minister of sport of the Russian Federation, has responded in a very affirmative way.
The idea of establishing a regional training center in Russia was raised in a meeting between WTF President Choue and Russian Sport Minister Mutko at the Petersburg Sport and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia on Oct. 19, 2013.
At the 30-minute meeting between the two, the third of its kind after their earlier meetings in Moscow and Kazan, WTF President Choue proposed launching a WTF-designated regional training center in Russia for the development of taekwondo and the Russian sport minister responded to the offer in a very affirmative manner.
The two sides agreed to follow up the training center issue shortly. On hand at the meeting was Mr. Anatoly Terekhov, president of the Russian Taekwondo Union, and WTF Secretary General Jean-Marie Ayer.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games, which kicked off on Oct. 18 for a nine-day run in St. Petersburg, drawing athletes from a total of 15 martial arts and combat sports, including taekwondo.
The WTF has so far designated five regional training centers in four countries: China, Iran, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
Semifinal: U.S. Team members T.J. Curry, James Howe, Steven Lin, Nir Moriah and Phillip Yun took another step closer to gold after defeating host country Russia, 18-16, in the semifinal at the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games in St. Petersburg.
The Americans will face Iran in the Gold Medal Round today at 8:30 p.m. local time/12:30 p.m. EDT.
Spain, who lost to Iran, 6-5, in the semifinal, will take on Russia at 7:30 p.m. local time/11:30 a.m. EDT for bronze.
Day 2 Update: The U.S. Team knocked off Venezuela, 15-13, in the final Round Robin matchup of the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, which improved the Americans' record to 2-1-0 and earned a berth in the semifinals against Russia.
Final Group B standings: Iran, 3-0-0, 9 points United States, 2-1-0, 6 points Korea, 1-2-0, 3 points Venezuela, 0-3-0, 0 points
Final Group A standings: Russia, 2-0-1, 7 points Spain, 1-0-2, 5 points Uzbekistan, 1-1-1, 4 points Dominican Republic, 0-3-0, 0 points
The U.S. Team— made up of Senior athletes T.J. Curry, James Howe, Steven Lin, Nir Moriah and Phillip Yun— split its first two matches Oct. 23 at the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, after falling to Iran, 26-5, and defeating Korea, 24-20. The Americans, who are tied for second with Korea in Group B, take on Venezuela Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. local time/7 a.m. EDT in the final Round Robin matchup. The semifinals and finals will also be held Oct. 24.
The tag-team competition involves eight teams broken into two pools of four. Each pool competes in a Round Robin format, with the top two in each pool competing in the semifinal. The match format consists of two five-minute rounds. A match win earns three points, a draw is one and a loss is zero, which is calculated to determine who advances to the semifinals.
Day 1 Group B standings: Iran, 2-0-0, 6 points United States, 1-1-0, 3 points Korea, 1-1-0, 3 points Venezuela, 0-2-0, 0 points
Day 1 Group A standings: Russia, 2-0-0, 6 points Spain, 1-0-1, 4 points Uzbekistan, 0-1-1, 1 point Dominican Republic, 0-2-0, 0 points
Oct. 24 Matchups Pool A: Uzbekistan vs. Dominican Republic; Russia vs. Spain Pool B: United States vs. Venezuela; Korea vs. Iran
The U.S. team is without Steven Lopez, who dropped out of the competition earlier in the week. The five U.S. athletes—Curry, Howe, Lin, Moriah and Yun— weighed in on Oct. 22 at 357.85 kg, 2.15 kg less than the maximum 360 for a five-man team.