The Para-taekwondo world rankings have been updated following the conclusion of the US Open in Las Vegas, where athletes had their first opportunity to collect points towards qualification for the sport’s Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
The US Open is a G-1 event, meaning division winners received 10 ranking points for a gold medal.
In the men’s under 61 kilograms category, Finland’s Matti Sairanen claimed the full 10 points with a K44 gold medal success over Brazil’s Nathan Torquato.
The win sees him move up two spots to number 14, well behind Mongolia’s top-ranked Bolor-Erdene Ganbat.
With victories at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games and European Open, Russian youngster Daniil Sidorov has risen to number two in K44.
Number one-ranked Bopha Kong of France easily dispatched number three-ranked Anthony Cappello of Canada in the K43 final.
The win sees Kong distance himself further from number two-ranked Alejandro Vidal Alvarez of Spain.
Mexico’s Juan Diego Lopez Garcia continues to stake his claim as the men’s under 75kg K44 division’s top fighter in the Americas, following up his Pan American Open win last year with a victory in Las Vegas.
The win sees him jump up four places to number 12, while Iran’s Mehdi Pourrahnamaahmad has a comfortable 195-point lead at the top.
Following his IWAS World Games and European Open titles, Ukraine’s former world champion Anton Shvets continues to lead Kazakhstan’s Nurlan Dombayev on the K43 side.
In the men’s over 75kg division, the United States’ Evan Medell was crowned K44 champion at his home event once more - a welcome relief after disappointing results at last year’s World Championships and IWAS World Games.
The America’s top fighter added Pan American and Oceania crowns in 2017, but will look to make a statement later this season against the two fighters ahead of him in the rankings - Croatia’s Ivan Mikulic and Iran’s Asghar Aziziaghdam.
On the women’s side, the US’s Sophie Gimeno claimed her first US Open title to enter the rankings in under 49kg K44 at number 20.
Mongolia’s Enkhtuya Khurelbaatar is still the one to catch, while Turkey’s Meryem Betul Cavdar used her IWAS World Games and European Open victories late last year to propel herself to the top of a group trying to catch her.
Ukraine’s iconic Vika Marchuk added a fifth world title in 2017 to lead the K43 group by a commanding 168.8 points.
In the women’s under 58kg category, Mexico’s Jessica Garcia Quijano captured her first US Open crown to add to last year’s Pan American Open triumph and close the gap on number five-ranked Gamze Gurdal of Turkey in the K44 division.
Denmark's four-time reigning world champion Lisa Gjessing continues to lead the group.
There appears to be no stopping Great Britain’s Amy Truesdale in the women’s over 58kg, having started 2018 in the same superb form in which she finished 2017.
Undefeated last season, Truesdale captured the Asian and European Open championships to add to her World Championship and IWAS World Games titles.
Number three-ranked Laura Schiel of France has edged closer to number two-ranked Rajae Akermach of Morocco with a bronze medal in Las Vegas.
Turkey’s Seyma Nur Emeksiz is the one to catch on the K43 side, having opened up a commanding 152-point lead based on her 2017 World Championship performance.
Turkey’s Mehmet Serkan Serpici has jumped to number one in the men's under 75kg K42 category after claiming the European Open title, while Russia’s Valerii Bazin has climbed to the top of the men's under 75kg K41 division after claiming the 2017 World Championship title.
Bazin’s compatriot Zaira Irazieva upset number one-ranked Ayse Dudu Karatay of Turkey in the European Open’s women’s over 58kg K42 event, closing the gap between the two.
Last year, it was confirmed that K43 athletes will join their K44 counterparts in six "super division" weight classes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
The top two ranked fighters in each weight class in both K44 and K43 will earn automatic qualification, while others will need to win a qualification tournament.
The next opportunity for fighters to gain Tokyo 2020 ranking points is at the African Open in Agadir, Morocco on March 28.