Manchester 2019 WC- Day 4: Jade Jones finally wins world title as Italy and Thailand grab 1st gold
Double Olympic champion adds world crown to her cabinet in 4th attempt, Wongpattanakit (Thailand) repeats triumph and Alessio (Italy) astonishes the Taekwondo community
Historical day for Taekwondo as legend and double Olympic champion Jade Jones from Great Britain finally conquered the world title at home, at Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships, after unsuccessfully trying at Puebla 2013, Chelyabinsk 2015 and Muju 2017. Jones defeated no other than the previous holder of the crown, Ah-reum Lee by 14-7 in which was the third gold medal for Great Britain in the event. Italy clinched its first title thanks to 19-year-old Simone Alessio’s astonishing performance against Olympic champion Ahmad Abughaush (Jordan), while Thailand also tasted glory for the first time in Manchester after superstar Panipak Wongpattanakit collected her second world title in front of another true legend of our sport, 31-year-old and double Olympic and world champion Jingyu Wu (China).
Day 3 – Finals
Women’s -49 kg
1 – Panipak Wongpattankit (THA)
2 – Jingyu Wu (CHN)
3 – Rukiye Yildirim (TUR)
3 – Kristina Tomic (CRO)
Jingyu Wu (CHN), double Olympic and world champion, came back to a final of such a high level after giving birth to her child and a 7 year absence in a world final, which was used as an advantage by Panipak Wongpattankit (THA), the current Olympic bronze and 2017 world champion, who gave no chance to the Chinese in the final: 21-6. The 10 year difference was key for a phenomenal performance by the Thai, who didn’t let Wu score until the last minute of the fight. Wongpattanakit found Wu’s body and head in several occasions until taking a 16-0 lead at the end of the second round. The last two minutes were a desperate reaction from the Chinese, who managed to score but left some cracks in defense.
Men’s -74 kg
1 – Simone Alessio (ITA)
2 – Ahmad Abughaush (JOR)
3 – Daniel Quesada (ESP)
3 – Kairat Sarymsakov (KAZ)
Simone Alessio, a 19-year-old Italian, became the senation of the evening at Manchester Arena after winning the world title against no other than the Olympic champion Ahmad Abughaush from Jordan, who couldn’t stop Alessio’s attacks, powered by a significant height difference of 20 cms. The Italian was always in front of the fight, taking a 6-1 lead through 2 head kicks. And he kept pushing for more, adding 8 more points to his bag in the next 2 minutes. Abughaush seemed unable to damage him, and the match continued in the same way in the final round. The Jordan could only score through punches, and Alessio’s legs were too much for that. Every punch was responded by the Italian, who never saw his gold at risk.
Women’s -57 kg
1 – Jade Jones (GBR)
2 – Ah-reum Lee (KOR)
3 – Lijun Zhou (CHN)
3 – Skylar Park (CAN)
Olympic champion against reigning world champion. That was the menu for the final, and it did not disappoint. Jade Jones finally added the title she was missing to her collection after edging Ah-reum Lee by 14-7 in a very tense fight which wasn’t clear which way was going to go until the last 10 seconds, when Jones connected the winning body kick to close it. Jones was always in the lead, but her advantages were short all the time. 2-4 at the end of the first round, 10-7 with one minute to go… the crowd was cheering for Jones like crazy at the end trying to help the Welsh achieve her dream. And she did, winning the third title for GB Team in the event.
Day 4 – Semi-finals
Men’s -63 kg
– Shuai Zhao (CHN)
– Soroush Ahmadi (IRI)
3 – Iordanis Konstantinidis (GER)
3 – Jaouad Achab (BEL)
The current Olympic and world champion Shuai Zhao (China) struggled to beat one of the surprises of the event, Iordanis Konstantinidis from Germany, who put the Chinese star in a critical situation but finally lost 9-8. Zhao started setting the pace and took an early 5-0 lead, but a spinning head kick from the German turn the match into a thriller which was resolved by 1 point only.
World and European champion Jaouad Achab (Belgium) couldn’t reach his second final in such an event after losing to the outsider of the draw, Soroush Ahmadi from Iran, by 6-3 in a very tactical fight which won’t be remembered. The first period ended without points on the scoreboard, with the Iranian leadin by 3-1 after 4 minutes. In the last round, not much more happened, with the fight being decided by penalties.
Women’s -53 kg
– Tatiana Kudashova (RUS)
– Phannapa Harnsujin (THA)
3 – Aaliyah Powell (GBR)
3 – Inese Tarvida (LAT)
The first Women’s combat of the evening session was really an exhibition from Tatiana Kudashova (Russia), European champion and world silver medallist at Muju 2017, who almost erased the local hope of the division, Aaliyah Powell, by 38-5. The fight didn’t have much of a story, with the Russian connecting all kind of kicks and the Brit trying to stop them without success.
World bronze medallist at Muju 2017 and European silver, Inese Tarvida (Latvia), couldn’t contain the Thai representative at Rio 2016 Olympics Phannapa Harnsujin, who found the way to beat the Latvian despite a late effort by Tarvida which put her win at risk. After a 6-0 lead in the first round, the fight started to become tight. Tarvida launched head kicks which seemed to confuse the Thai, who had to connect a spinning body kick with 5 seconds to go to secure the triumph (20-17).
Men’s -80 kg
– Apostolos Telikostoglou (GRE)
– Milad Beigi Harchegani (AZE)
3 – Moises Hernandez (DOM)
3 – Woo-Hyeok Park (KOR)
The Junior silver medallist at Sharm El-Sheikh 2012, Apostolos Telikostoglou from Greece, advanced to the crucial fight of one of the toughest divisions in our sport after outscoring Panamerican silver Moises Hernandez from Dominican Republic by 15-6. The Greek showed everyone his ability to take advantage of his rival’s mistakes and keep calm during the whole fight. When he is in front of the score, the Greek is really a tough competitor to beat. He finished the first period 5-0 above and never lost that lead.b
World and European champion and Olympic bronze medallist Milad Beigi Harchegani proved he is the player to watch nowadays in the division and smashed Woo-hyeok Park, who had defeated world champion Maksim Khramtcov, by 37-20. The Azerbaijan representative was always ahead in the fight, taking a 13-0 lead during the second round, and that was just too much for the Korean. Park reacted and started to score points through great actions, but Beigi also managed to find his rival’s body during the reaction and ended earning the ticket to the final.
Women’s -67 kg
– Mengyu Zhang
– Nur Tatar (TUR)
3 – Milena Titoneli (BRA)
3 – Farida Azizova
World and European champion and Olympic silver medallist Nur Tatar (TUR) showed everyone at Manchester Arena why she is one of the biggest references in the class and beat Milena Titoneli from Brazil by a comfortable 20-3. Tatar started the match with one objective, study her opponent, and she did so during the first period, which ended 0-0. In the second one, she already managed to connect a head and a body kick to gain a 5-0 lead. And in the last two minutes, she used all her tricks, spinning kicks included, to score point after point with Titoneli looking uncapable of matching her level.
In the second semi-final, Farida Azizova from Azerbaijan, who got bronze at Puebla 2013 and almost did the same at Rio 2016 Olympics, could not control the power of Mengyu Zhang (China), bronze at Muju 2017 world champs, who access the crucial fight of the category after a 18-5 result. The Chinese was simply better in all fields, and even though she couldn’t score during the first two minutes, she completed a perfect second and third round with plenty of body shots. At least, Azizova said goodbye to the event with a stunning spinning body shot who was a joy for the spectators at Manchester Arena.
Tomorrow will be the day for the Finals of these four divisions and for the beginning of the Women’s -62 and and Men’s -87 and +87 kg categories, which will complete their draw until the very end.