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BAHRAIN will host its first open tournament under the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in January of next year.

This was announced yesterday by the Bahrain Martial Arts Association (BMAA).

The competition will be held at the new martial arts hall of the yet-to-be-completed Shaikh Isa Sports City. It will take place as part of the inauguration celebrations of the facility, which will also be the next headquarters of the BMAA.

More than 500 participants representing around 20 countries from around the world are expected to compete.

Bahrain has hosted international open tournaments twice in the past, but next year’s event will be the first time that the kingdom will be staging as an official part of the WTF calendar.

BMAA board member and taekwondo committee head Khaled Al Hassan told the GDN that hosting such a competition can only benefit the sport in Bahrain, which has already displayed its talent in the sport with plenty of medals both at the regional and international levels.

“This open tournament will be a very good thing for Bahrain, especially since it makes us a part of the WTF circuit,” Al Hassan said.

“We are hoping to gain the maximum participation in this competition, with a lot of events going on throughout its duration, including workshops for coaches and referees, and many others of the like.

“The WTF is very pleased to be helping us with this event and they are looking forward to having us a fixture on their calendar each year.”