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Manchester 2019 WC – Day 2: Korea completes the treble

Manchester 2019 WC – Day 2: Korea completes the treble

Da-bin Lee (W-73), Jae-young Sim (W-46) and Jun Jang (M-58) lead the Asian team to a perfect hat-trick

Korea proved the world Taekwondo is not a Korean martial art by chance and collected the first three gold medals awarded at Manchester 2019 World Championships. Mexico was the other shining nation on Thursday with 2 silvers, leaving the other second place for Iran. China, Thailand, Portugal, Argentina, Turkey and France had to content with the bronze medals of the divisions.

Day 1 – Finals

Women’s -46 kg

1 – Jae-young Sim (KOR)
2 – Mahla Momenzadeh (IRI)
3 – Xueqin Tan (CHN)
3 – Julanan Khantikulanon (THA)

Jae-young Sim retained her crown as the best in the world after defeating Mahla Momenzadeh from Iran in the big final by 11-6. The Korean star started the match with a 2 point advantage after connecting a body kick, which was equalized by the Iranian representative at the beginning of the second round with the same action. But Sim wasn’t going to let her crown to anyone and responded with two more body kicks to rocket to a 7-2. In the last 2 minutes, the exchange of actions and the tacticisim left the score with 11-4 for the Korean.

Women’s -46 kg podium

Men’s -58 kg

1 – Jun Jang (KOR)
2 – Brandon Plaza (MEX)
3 – Rui Bragança (POR)
3 – Lucas Guzman (ARG)

Jun Jang grabbed the second gold of the day for Korea as he got rid of Brandon Plaza from Korea in the crucial fight of the draw by a clear 25-8. The Korean representative left no chance for the Mexican to compete at his same level from the very beginning. Jang dominated the first round by 11-2, then gained three more points of advantage in the second (19-7) and extended his lead to the final 25-9 in the last two minutes of the fight. His attacks were just too quick and precise for Plaza to control them. The Mexican gave everything on the tatami, but the Korean showed the world he is just the strongest of the class.

Men’s -58 kg podium

Women’s -73 kg

1 – Da-bin Lee (KOR)
2 – Maria Espinoza (MEX)
3 – Nafia Kus (TUR)
3 – Marie Paule Ble (FRA)

Da-bin Lee (KOR) completed the triple crown for the Korean team after outscoring no other than the Olympic and world champion Maria Espinoza from Mexico in the gold medal match of the Women’s -73 kg division by a clear 22-2. The Asian completely smashed her rival in the final, taking a large advantage from the very beginning which was a mountain too high to climb even for a superchampion like Espinoza.

Women’s -73 kg podium

Day 2 – Semi-finals

Women’s +73 kg

– Bianca Walkden (GBR)
– Shuyin Zheng (CHN)
3 – Briseida Acosta (MEX)
3 – Doris Pole (CRO)

The current Olympic bronze and double world champion Bianca Walkden proved to be stronger than the Mexican representative, Briseida Acosta, in the first Semi-final of the session, grabbing the access to the final by 19-9. Even though the Mexican representative was the first athlete to score taking advantage of a precise kick to the body in the first seconds of the match, the Brit was able to turn the score around at the beginning of the second round thanks to a body kick and controlled the match since then. She connected two more head kicks in the third to finish with a ten point lead.

Walkden’s opponent in the final was going to be decided in the second battle of the evening: Doris Pole (CRO) versus Shuyin Zheng (CHN), a place which was more deserved by the Asian, current Olympic champion, who won the battle by 9-2. While Pole was the first one to score in the first round, Zheng performed at a higher level since the 2-0 against her and left no significant cracks on her defense to mantain a regular rythm of scoring which gave her 9 points, specially through body kicks.

Men’s -54 kg

– Jun-seo Bae (KOR)
– Georgy Popov (RUS)
3 – Armin Hadipour (IRI)
3 – Paulo Melo (BRA)

The first Men’s clash of the evening session was completely dominated by Jun-seo Bae from Korea, who overwhelmed his rival, Paulo Melo from Brazil, with a stunning variety of attacking skills. The Korean found his opponent’s body in several occasions through head and body kicks, and although Melo really tried his best and managed to find cracks on the Korean wall, Bae ended up the fight while still in the second round by 34-16 as the South American collected his 10th gam-jeon.

The second place in the final was decided in a tight fight and was taken by Georgy Popov (RUS). The 17-year-old Russian amazed everyone at Manchester Arena with his quickness, which let him advantage his opponent by 12 points at the end of the second round. His body and head kicks were just too fast for Hadipour, from Iran, to handle. The Iranian desperately triend to overcome the distance in the last minute, but there was not enough time (20-14).

Men’s -68 kg

– Bradly Sinden (GBR)
– Javier Perez Polo (ESP)
3 – Alexey Denisenko (RUS)
3 – Dae-hoon Lee (KOR)

The triple world champion Dae-hoon Lee was dethroned by the local idol, Bradly Sinden, who took advantage of the extra motivation of competing at home in such a big event to connect a last second body kick who turned the score around from 22-23 to 24-23 in what was the most exciting combat of the evening. Both ahletes showed a tremendous number of skills and power, a joy to watch from beginning to end. The biggest surprise of the event so far had a British involved and the crowd exploded with it.

Sinden will face Javier Perez Polo from Spain for the title, as the double Olympic medallist Alexey Denisenko failed to beat him in the other semi-final (12-6). The Spaniard connected a quick head shot in the first round which was equalized by the Russian in the second. In the last round, two body kicks and one gam-jeon gave Perez a 5 point lead that was too much for Denisenko.

Tomorrow will be the day for the Finals of these three divisions and for the beginning of the Women’s -49, -57 kg and Men’s -74 kg categories, which will complete their draw until the Final round.


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