Joel González, Spain's first Olympic gold medal in taekwondo
Joel Gonzalez Bonilla won the first ever olympic gold medal in Taekwondo for Spain.
The taekwondo event kicked off at the ExCel Centre on August 8th. The Spanish Joel González fought in the men’s -58kg final against the Korean Dae-Hoon Lee, and won the gold medal, with a big point difference.
From the second part of the first round, Joel succeeded in trunk and head kicks and started to get ahead of Lee. In the second round, Joel’s superiority continued although his opponent didn’t stop counterattacking. Lee tried to narrow down the point difference to turn around the score.
However, at the second part of the 3rd round, Joel hit Lee’s face with an apchagi (front kick), leaving the score clearly in his favor.
Eventually, the scoreboard ended with a 17-8 and Joel shared the joy and happiness of an olympic gold medal with the Spanish people.
From the beginning, the favorite athletes in the men’s -58kg were Joel, who is ranked world no. 1, Dae-Hoon Lee, and Pen-Ek Karaket from Thailand.
Joel participated in a relatively advantageous position, since he started as first seeded for being number 1 in the WTF Olympic ranking.
On the other hand, Lee and Karaket had to fight from the round of 16. Their encounter was one of the fiercest fights of the first day.
The last round ended in a tie, requiring a sudden death 4th round, in which Lee was fast enough to score the golden point. Lee seemed to maintain his good luck by winning the quarterfinals also with a sudden death point, and the semifinals with a narrow difference of 1 point.
However, this changed in the final match against Joel.
Joel wasn’t only lucky in the seeding, but also took advantage of his height to beat his opponents, and proved that he is the best in his category.
It was a particularly joyful day for the Spanish team, which saw Joel González win a gold medal and Brigitte Yagüe a silver medal on the same day.