Muju 2017 WC – Day 2: A superb Korean Team takes the 2 first golds of the event
Korea sent a clear message in the first day of medals at Muju 2017 World Taekwondo Championships after winning the two gold medals awarded on Sunday: we’re playing at home, will take advantage of it and have consciously prepared to be at our best shape in Muju. Tae-hun Kim grabbed his third consecutive M-54 world crown after edging Hadipour from Iran in a close final (10-6) and Sim-jae Young (KOR) tasted glory in W-46 after proving to be stronger than the other finalist, Truong (VIE), whom she defeated quite comfortably by 18-9. Vito Dell’Aqua from Italy and Ramnarong Sawekwiharee from Thailand took the lower step of the Men’s -54 kg podium, while Napaporn Charanawat (THA) and Andrea Ramirez (COL) were the bronze medallists in the Women’s -46 kg division.
Men’s -54 kg
1 – Tae-hun Kim (KOR)
2 – Vito Dell’Aquila (ITA)
3 – Armin Hadipour (IRI)
3 – Ramnarong Sawekwiharee (THA)
Women’s -46 kg
1 – Andrea Ramirez (COL)
2 – Sim-jae Young (KOR)
3 – Napaporn Charanawat (THA)
3 – Thi Kim Tuyen Truong (VIE)
Women’s -46 kg
The local hero Sim-jae Young (KOR) left no chace for a surprise in the first Semi-final of the session, comfortably beating Andrea Ramirez from Colombia by 19-6. The Korean representative was the first athlete to score taking advantage of a missed attack from the Colombian and connecting a chest kick afterwards, and since then there was only one way the match could follow. After a 2-1 lead at the end of the 1st period, Young managed to hit Ramirez’s head in 3 occasions in the second round, which ended up with 11-2 on the scoreboard. The final two minutes were a demonstration of control by the local fighter, who advanced to the Final without too much trouble.
Young’s opponent in the final was going to be decided in the second battle of the evening: Napaporn Charanawat (THA) against Thi Kim Tuyen Truong (VIE), which ended up with the Vietnamese gaining the access to the gold match. Truong based her chances on a solid defense at the beginning,earning a 3-1 lead in the 3rd round thanks to gam-jeons from her opponent, but stepped up right afterwards to connect two conecutive head kicks with her left foot to grow the distance to a 9-2. Charanawat also managed to find a crack on the Vietnamese’s defense to complete a head kick, a great action that combined with penalties from Truong left the final score in 9-8 for the Vietnam representative.
Men’s -54 kg
Tae-hun Kim (IRI) became the first finalist of the division after smashing Vito Dell’Aquila (ITA) during the 4 and a half minutes of the fight. The match finished 16-0 with almost 2 minutes still to be played, when the Italian representative was punished with another gam-jeon who left to the resolving 16 point difference. Kim controlled the clash from the very beginning, ending the first round with 7-0 up thanks to two chest kicks, and growing the distance to a 15-0 lead at the end of the second period, taking advantage of several gam-jeons from the Italian.
The second place in the final was taken by Armin Hadipour (IRI), who had to wait until there only were 6 seconds left in the match against Ramnarong Sawekwiharee (THA) to define an extra close and spectacular match. Until then, the match was a true show, with head and chest kicks from both players, who showed an extremely high level in the offensive end of the game. Hadipour led by 8-4 at the end of the 1st round, but the Thai turned the score back into a 16-18 at the end of the second. With 6 seconds to finish, they were tied to 22, but a mistake from Sawekwiharee left the door open for the Iranian. The Thai fell and gave 1 key point to his opponent, who then took advantage of the his desperation to rise the count to the final 25-23.
Women’s -46 kg
The first gold medal for the hosting country Korea was taken by Sim-jae Young, who gave the spectators of Taekwondowon a big moment of joy after beating the Vietnamese representative Truong by 18-9 in a fight that was always under her control. Young started setting the pace of the match and took advantage of 3 penalties from Truong to finish 3-1 up after the first 2 minutes. Then she connected a precise and powerful chest kick to rise the distance to 6-2 with only one round left. And in the third period, she combined another chest kick with a head kick to leave the Vietnamese with no real chances of coming back. The minimum gap she had was a 11-6 lead, which went up to 16-6. At the end, she figured out a way to defend her advantage and taste glory at Taekwondo’s Mecca in front of the local audience.
Men’s -54 kg
The Puebla 2013 and Chelyabinsk 2015 world champion and Rio 2016 Olympics bronze medallist Tae-hun Kim won his third consecutive world championship after defeating Armin Hadipour from Iran by 10-6. Kim started the match down after a combative Hadipour was able to connect a chest kick, but the Korean started to use his long left leg to turn the match around. The balanced the game to a 3-3 tie at the end of the first round with a chest kick, and started to climb to the top of the podium thanks to a head kick and a chest kick in the middle of the second period, which ended up 9-5. In the final two minutes, he resisted all the Iranian’s attacks to grab another gold medal.
Day session: Men’s -74 kg and Women’s -49 kg
Thailand confirmed its third medal at Muju 2017, while Iran secured its second metal in the event. Russia, Kazakhtan, Uzbekistan, China, Serbia and Croatia also confirmed a place in tomorrow’s podium after the day session of Muju 2017 Day 2 was completed.
Eight countries managed to place one athlete each into the Semi-finals of the Women’s -49 kg and Men’s -74 kg categories, which will both be resolved during tomorrow’s evening session.
The competitors who will fight for the gold medals on the third day of action will be:
Men’s -74 kg
– Nikita Rafalovich (UZB)
– Masoud Hajizavareh (IRI)
– Kairat Sarymsakov (KAZ)
– Maksim Khramtcov (RUS)
Rafalovich, silver medallist in Cehlyabinsk 2015, will face Sarymsakov for a place in the big final, as the reigning world champion Hajizavareh and Khramtcov will fight each other for the other. The Iranian idol showed his dominance in the division after successfuly beating Joseph (MRI 22-0), Faheem (PAK 22-6), Fejzic (SRB 5-3) and the number 1 seed Eissa (EGY 14-6) mostly by a comfortable point difference, while Rafalovich had to defeat Bahrami (AZE 16-5), Heredia (DOM 2-4), Alvarez (ARG 23-3) and Lizarraga (MEX 15-7) to make his way to the Semis. On the other side of the draw, Khramtcov got rid of Gonzalez (AND 10-0), Quesada (ESP 23-8), and the local hope, Hun Kim (KOR 27-5), while Sarymsakov left Ferreira (POR 6-5), Klemas (LTU 15-9) and Yang (TPE superiority) on his way to certify a medal in the category.
Women’s -49 kg
– Yuntao Wenren (CHN)
– Panipak Wongpattanakit (THA)
– Kristina Tomic (CRO)
– Vanja Stankovic (SRB)
Wenren clearly proved to be a candidate for the gold after beating Aragon (PHI 5-1), the bronze medallist at Chelyabinsk 2015 Igumenova (RUS 14-5), Yamada (JPN 23-3) and the local hero, So-hui Kim (KOR 2-0 by GDP), securing the first medal for China in the event; Wongpattanakit showed her power over Marte (DOM 29-9), Reis (BRA 26-5) and Cidem (TUR 12-4); Stankovic beat Umurerwa (RWA), Abakarova (AZE 3-0 by GDP), Stambaugh (PUR 13-6) and Kiyanichandeh (IRI 15-2); while Tomic’s superb performance on Sunday left Stingl (AUT 18-0), Aguirre (CUB 15-5) and Manjarrez (MEX 11-4) behind her.
Tomorrow will be the day for the Semi-finals and Finals of these two divisions and for the beginning of the Women’s -67 kg and Men’s -68 kg categories, which will complete their draw until the Semi-final round.
Pau Aguilar, Muju