Puebla 2013 Day 3: Iran and France clinch first title
Iran and France joined Puebla 2013’s golden rush on the third day of this year’s WTF World Championships. Benham Asbaghikhanghah, a non seeded player, won the gold medal of the Men’s -68 kg category after beating the Korean Hun Kim, numer 19 seeded, by 5-4 in a polemical match that could have had a different winner if Korea’s coach hadn’t wasted the video replay option in a clearly missed head kick attempt. The Spaniard José Antonio Rosillo and Balla Dieye from Senegal were awarded with the bronze medals of the division.
In the Women’s -67 kg category, the French Haby Niare, numer 2 seeded, got rid of Chia Chia Chuang from Chinese Taipei by 5-4 to conquer France’s first gold medal in Puebla, with the Slovenian Franka Anic and Farida Azizova from Azerbaijan being their companions in the final podium.
After the first 3 competition days, Korea keeps leading the Medal Count of the event with 2 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze, followed by Mexico with 1 gold and 1 bronze and Thailand, Iran and France with 1 gold each.
The first Semi-final of the 3rd day of action at Puebla’s Exhibition Center confronted Farida Azizova (AZE) and Chia Chia Chuang (TPE). The match started with both athletes trying to avoid making any mistake, which made the score remain 0-0 at the end of the first round. The second period followed the same slow pace, but with only 11 seconds left, Chuang caught Azizova by surprise and connected a really quick head kick with her right leg. The action seemed to wake Azizova up, as she managed to score two chest kicks before the end of the period. The fight remained close, but Chuang made a big step forward when she found again the way to hit Azizova’s head, making the score change into 8-4. Too much distance for the Azerbaijani, who, however, was about to tie the combat with a video replay request with only 2 seconds to go. The referees didn’t give the points and Chuang was already in the final.
The second Semi-final of the Women’s -67 kg division started with the same low pace. At the end of the first round, neither Haby Niare (FRA) nor Franka Anic (SLO) hadn’t got close to scoring a single point. The fist right action of the fight was made by the French athlete, who connected a quick chest kick at the beginning of the second period. Niare managed to score 1 more point with a really similar kick and after it, performed a dodging master class that allowed her to access the final with no points in Azizov’s side (2-0).
The first Semi of the Men’s draw put Kim (KOR) and Dieye (SEN) face to face. Even though the Korean coach decided to unsuccessfully use the video replay request with only 11 seconds played, Kim managed to lead the match thanks to his extremely quick and accurate left kick, finishing in front by 4-1 at the end of the 1st period. Dieye needed to do something rapidly, as the fight was completely dominated by the Korean until then, and he did. The Senegalese dodged one of Kim’s head kick attempts and connected a spectacular head kick, moving the score to 5-4 with only seconds left. After that, Kim changed his strategy and started to defend very well while trying to score by a chest kick, which he managed to do. 10-5 in the end.
The second Male’s Semi-final was a really close one, with Asbaghikhanghah (IRI) winning it in the last minute, when he was able to knock down the Majorcan José Antonio Rosillo’s defence with a double head kick that moved the score from 2-2 to 8-2 in only 5 seconds time. Rosillo had performed a really commendable tournament, dominating all matches with his ease to connect accurate head kick with his right leg, while the Iranian had done an excellent defensive game throughout the event, winning all his matches by only 1 point until the Semis.
Haby Niare became World Champion of the Women’s -67 kg division after hardly beating Chia Chia Chuang in the big final by 5-4. The first period had no points scored on any side, as both athletes seemed to feel the pressure of her first World Championship crucial fight. Niare was the first to get rid of the nerves, connecting a head kick with her right leg that was appealed by Chuang’s coach. The referees confirmed Niare’s action and the French scored 1 more point right after. 4-0 at the end of the 2nd period. Everything seemed to be decided, but Chuang reacted spectacularly with a quick head kick that place the 4-3 in the score. Niare started to focus on defending and was penalized with 1 point, 4-4, but with only 20 seconds to play, managed to dodge a head kick attempt by Chuang and took advantage of her rival’s bad positioning to score the final 5-4.
The Men’s final of Puebla 2013 Day 3 ended up being the most polemical match of the tournament so far. Kim started solid, scoring quickly the first point of the fight with a left chest kick, but the Iranian Asbaghikhanghah responded connecting 2 consecutive right chest kicks that turned the score to his side (2-1). The defensive game of the Iranian was finally penalized at the start of the second round with a point to Kim, who was then surprised by Asbaghikhanghah’s right chest kick, moving the score to 2-3. Kim started the 3rd round with determination and found a crack on his opponent’s defense to connect his favorite action again (3-3), but the Iranian never gave up and reacted again with another powerful chest kick with his right leg. This action was followed by a kyong go on the Korean that placed the 5-3 in the score. The fight seemed to be over, but Kim managed to achieve 1 more point thanks to his wild left leg. There were only 4 second remaining, but the Korean found the way to connect a spectacular head kick that would have given him the title if the referees had properly seen it. As the Korean coach had wasted the video replay request seconds before in a clearly unsuccessful action, Kim couldn’t do anything else than falling on the tatami and crying for his bitter defeat. Asbaghikhanghah was the new World Champion of the Men’s -68 kg division.