Manchester 2013 GP – Day 2: Chinese Taipei and Sweden taste first title as GBR takes second
WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Manchester 2013
Manchester, Great Britain
13-15 December 2013
Day 2 – Complete Results:
Men’s -58 kg
1 – Chen-Yang Wei (TPE)
2 – Taehun Kim (KOR)
3 – Hadi Mostean Loron (IRI)
3 – Damián Villa (MEX)
Women’s -67 kg
1 – Elin Johansson (SWE)
2 – Chia Chia Chuang (TPE)
3 – Anastasia Baryshnikova (RUS)
3 – Haby Niare (FRA)
Men’s -80 kg
1 – Lutalo Muhammad (GBR)
2 – Albert Gaun (RUS)
3 – Aaron Cook (IMN)
3 – Yunus Sari (TUR)
Men’s -58 kg
Chen-Yang Wei (TPE) became the first finalist of Manchester Grand Prix second day of competition after beating Damián Villa from Mexico by 2-0. Both of them won the bronze medal at Puebla 2013 World Championships last July, but the Asian athlete presented himself in Manchester in better shape. After a first period without any points scored, Wei connected a quick and precise right chest kick to take a 1-0 lead with 1 minute left in the second round. The referees also awarded him with 3 more points, but Villa appealed the decision and the video replay showed there was no contact. Wei reacted well to the decision of the table officials, as he connected another powerful chest kick to make it 2-0. The 3rd round was a defensive masterclass by the Asian, who left an offensive athlete like Villa with no points after 6 intense minutes of Taekwondo.
Taehun Kim (KOR), the defending World Champion of the Men’s -54 kg division, became the first ever -58 kg GP champion after getting read of another medallist at Puebla: Hadi Mostean Loron (IRI), who got the silver in the -58 kg category last July. Kim dominated the match from the very beginning, taking an early 3-1 lead in the first round and extending the distance to 6 points (8-2) with only the final period to play. His height advantage over Loron helped him connecting the crucial action during the final round, a spectacular head kick that rocketed him to 11. The Iranian had to content with 3 points and admit his opponent’s superiority.
Haby Niare from France and Chia Chia Chuang from Chinese Taipei reissued the Puebla 2013 WC Women’s -67 kg final in the same division’s first Semifinal at Manchester 2013 GP. The Asian representative started better than the defending world champion, gaining a 3 point lead in the first round after finding Niare’s head in the first minute of the clash. The French star reacted in the second with two consecutive chest kicks that left the scoreboard 2-3 with still 3 minutes to play. Niare tried her best in the final round, but Chuang left no cracks on her defense and managed to find Niare’s head with her left foot to finish it 7-2.
The Swedish Elin Johansson, who only lost by 3-2 in the Puebla 2013 WC Quarterfinals against the champion of the Women’s -62 kg ,Carmen Marton (AUS), defeated Anastasia Baryshnikova from Russia by 2-0 to confirm her access to the final. Both athletes seemed to study each other in the first 4 minutes of the clash, as no points were scored until there were only 15 seconds left to finish the second round, when Johansson connectead a precise chest kick to inaugurate the scoreboard. The match remained with only 1 point until the last 8 seconds, with the Swedish finding the way to score 1 more point with another chest kick and jumping to the gold medal match (2-0).
Men’s -80 kg
The most successful British representative of the day was Lutalo Muhammad. The Olympic bronze medallist showed a great level of Taekwondo throughout the day and it even raised it in the Semifinal against Yunus Sari from Turkey, who had no chances at all to beat him (6-0). Muhammad was very offensive with his left leg during all the clash, finding Sari’s head at the end of the first period to finish it 3-0 and extending his lead to 4-0 in the second through a chest kick. In the final round, he even connected two more left kicks to make his way to the final by 6-0.
The other most supported athlete by the crowd was Aaron Cook, who now fights under the flag of Isle of Man even though having born in Dorchester, UK. Cook could not reach the final and taste the glory again in Manchester after his 2012 European title, as the Russian Albert Gaun, silver medallist at Puebla 2013 WC, beat him in the sudden death period after an absolute thriller of a match which finished 9-9. Gaun started much stronger, gaining a 5-0 lead in the first round with Cook feeling the pressure of playing at home and wanting to do his best. The Dorchester athlete reacted in the second period, where he connected a spectacular turnaround head kick that seemed to give him wings. 7-6 with 2 minutes left, and an exchange of chest kicks until the last second to put the 9-9 in the scoreboard.
Men’s -58 kg
Chen-Yang Wei got rid of the Korean Taehun Kim after coming back from a slow start in the first period, clearly dominated by the Korean. The second and third round showed the best skills from both athltetes, who tied to 4 points with only 2 minutes to play. The last round was certainly an exciting one, with the Chinese Taipei fighter tasting the glory eventually thanks to two conescutive chest kicks in the last 5 seconds of the match (6-5).
Women’s -67 kg
And so she did it. Elin Johansson became the absolute outsider and surprise of the day after beating Chuang by a comfortable 9-2 in the final and becoming the first ever GP gold medallist of this division. Outstanding performance by the Swedish, who completed her best match of the tournament in the crucial moment. Even though the height difference the Asian had, Johansson gave her no chances of tasting the gold. 1-0 in the first round, a spectacular head kick in the second one to place the 5-0, and another 4 more points in the last period to reach a total of 9 points. The Chinese Taipei could only manage to get 2 points and had to content herself with the silver medal.
Men’s -80 kg
The loca hero, Lutalo Muhammad, won the second gold medal for Great Britain after defeating Albert Gaun from Russia with a surprising and quick right chest kick in the extra period. The match had been really tied, with Gaun reaching a 1-0 in the first period taking advantage of his tremendous defense. Muhammad tried to find a crack on the Russian’s wall throught the whole fight, specially with his left leg, but it wasn’t until the last 30 seconds of the clash when he scored the equalizer through a punch.