Manchester 2019 WC – Day 1: Korea places 2 fighters in the finals as Mexico puts 2
Korea and Mexico started the Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships as the best countries after placing 3 athletes and 2 fighters respectively in the first 3 finals of the event, to be held tomorrow. Iran is the other nation with 1 fighter in the crucial fights of Thursday, while China, Thailand, Portugal, Argentina, France and Turkey had to content with the bronze medals of the first day of action.
The competitors who have already secured a medal for the second day of action are:
Men’s -58 kg
– Brandon Plaza (MEX)
– Jun Jang (KOR)
3 – Rui Bragança (POR)
3 – Lucas Guzman (ARG)
Brandon Plaza (MEX) will face Jun Jang for the gold medal. The Mexican fighter struggled to defeat Bragança from Portugal in the semifinal in which was the best match of the session, managing to beat him through a head kick in the last second (16-13). Plaza had successfully battled Djacekas (LTU) by 28-0, Molom (MGL) by 32-21, Yskak (KAZ) by 39-20 and Farag (EGY) by 40-20, while Jang had to defeat Guzman from Argentina in the semi by a comfortable 14-3. The Korean had advanced to the semis after outscoring Bonnet (FRA) by 21-17, Lakehal (MAR) by 27-6 and Dimitrov (MDA) by 27-7.
Women’s -73 kg
– Da-bin Lee (KOR)
– Maria Espinoza (MEX)
3 – Nafia Kus (TUR)
3 – Marie Paule Ble (FRA)
Da-bin Lee (KOR) earned a spot in the final after proving to be stronger than Ble from France in the first semi of the class by 15-10. The Asian competitor had to wait until the last seconds of the third round to get rid of the European. Lee had defeated Hernandez from Cuba by a clear 21-0, Zhdanova from Russia by 25-5 and the local hope of the draw, McGowan by 28-2. Her rival in the crucial fight will be another star, Maria Espinoza, who managed to beat the European champion Nafia Kus (TUR) by 6-4 in the other semifinal. Espinoza left Ma (TPE 7-4) and Castro (ESP 6-5) on her way to another crucial fight.
Women’s -46 kg
– Mahla Momenzadeh (IRI)
– Jae-young Sim (KOR)
3 – Xueqin Tan (CHN)
3 – Julanan Khantikulanon (THA)
Mahla Momenzadeh from Iran became the first finalist of the event after beating Tan from China by a close 11-9 in the semifinal. She had previously defeated Uashpay (KAZ 21-1), Smith (GBR 17-7), Medvedeva (RUS 23-3) and Stojkovic (CRO 30-20). On the other side of the draw, Jae-young Sim (KOR) performed at a very high level in the last two rounds to edge Khantikulanon by 25-13 and make her way to the final. The Korean had arrived to the semifinals after getting rid of Sauluk (BLR 25-3), Santos (BRA 23-8) and Cortegoso (ESP 19-15).
Tomorrow will be the day for the Finals of these three divisions and for the beginning of the Women’s +73 kg and Men’s -54 and -68 kg categories, which will complete their draw until the Semi-final round.