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Puebla 2013 Day 6: Korea makes another strike and rockets with 6 golds

Puebla 2013 Day 6: Korea makes another strike and rockets with 6 golds

Dae-Hoon Lee and So-Hee Kim won the Men’s -63 kg and Women’s -57 kg titles on Puebla 2013 Day 6 to complete another double for Korea that confirms the Asian giants as the dominant nation of the Taekwondo worldwide scene. After smashing all his opponents throughout the draw, Lee did also comfortably beat the local hope Abel Mendoza (MEX) by 16-4 in the final, while Kim struggled a bit more to defeat the Japanese Mayu Hamada (15-8) in the other crucial fight of the day.
The bronze medallists of both categories were Chen Yang Wei (TPE) and Stevens Barclais (FRA) in Male’s -63 kg and Eva CAlvo (ESP) and Anna-Lena Froemming (GER) in Female’s -57 kg. With these results, Korea rockets to 6 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze in the Medal Count, followed by Cuba with 2 golds and 3 bronzes and Mexico with 1 gold, 2 silvers and 1 bronze.

Female's -57 kg podium with Hamada (2nd JPN), Kim (1st KOR), Froemming (3rd GER) and Calvo (3rd ESP). Photo: Oriol Guanyabens

The 18 year old Anna-Lena Froemming (GER), who surprisingly defeated the number 1 seeded and Olympic champion Yu Zhuo Hou in the Semi-final, made her debut in big international final against the Korean representative of the Women’s -57 kg category, So-Hee Kim. The Asian athlete, more used to these kind of matches, took rapidly control of the situation, holding a 7-5 lead at the end of the second period thanks to her quickness and accuracy. Since then, Kim managed to block all Froemming attacks and was able to score X points through XXX, confirming Korea’s seventh presence in a crucial fight so far. However, the German promise ??? showed the entire Taekwondo world that she will be one of the candidates for the victory in the years to come, no doubt about it.
The second finalist of the category ended up being the Japanese Mayu Hamada, number 7 seeded, who got rid of the Spaniard Eva Calvo in a really close and defensive match by 3-2. Calvo achieved an early lead after connecting two powerful chest kicks during the first period, but lost the pace of the fight at the start of the second round, when Hamada found the way to demolish the European fighter’s defense. Three precise chest kicks during the mid-interval were finally enough to reach the final (3-2). Calvo tried her best until the very end, but wasn’t able to crack the Japanese wall eventually. First final for Japan in the Championships.
The first Male clash of the evening session confronted Dae-Hoon Lee (KOR), who had taken the revenge of the London 2012 final over Joel González (ESP), Olympic gold and double world champion, in the Quarter-finals, and Chen Yang Wei (TPE), who had beat the number 1 seeded, the Tunisian Ouahid Briki, through a sudden death point in the same round. Lee wanted to prove his compatriots that all the criticism that he received after the Olympic defeat against González wasn’t fair, so he started to attack Wei’s defense with extremely quick chest kicks and scoring in two of them. 2-0 at the end of the first period. The second one had a complete different colour, as Wei scored 7 points on it, including a spectacular head kick in the last second, that gave him a 7-5 lead with only 1 round to go. Too much for Lee? Definitely not, as he scored through a chest kick in the first five seconds, reducing the distance to only 1 point, an action that seemed to give him wings, as he then smashed the Chinese Taipei representative by connecting 3 more consecutive chest kicks to make the final 9-7 on the scoreboard. The 8th final for Korea was already a reality.
The most expected Semi-final was the fourth one, as the local idol Abel Mendoza, who had literally smashed all his opponents throughout the day, made his way to the central tatami of Puebla Exhibition Center to face the French Stevens Barclais, who had left the number 2 seeded Michael Harvey (GBR) on his way. Despite the crowd’s enthusiastic support, Mendoza didn’t have a good start, as Barclais proved to be much more precise at that stage, scoring through 2 chest kicks and conceding only one to the Mexican. Mendoza reacted on the second round, blocking all Barclais’ kicks and forcing him to a kyong go that costed him a point. 2-2 and only 1 round to be played. The local hope was keeping his best skills for the last 2 minutes, as he rapidly took control of the fight with 2 consecutive chest kicks in the first 20 seconds. This 2 point lead ended up being enough to certify Mexico’s third final in the event, as Barclais was only able to score 1 more point until the referee finished the cash.

Barclais (FRA) jumping over Mendoza (MEX) during Men's -63 kg second Semi-final. Photo: Oriol Guanyabens

The first Final of Day 6 put two of the best Asian fighters of the Female’s -57 kg division face to face: So-Hee Kim (KOR) and Mayu Hamada (JPN). The Korean felt more comfortable than the Japanese fighter at the beginning of the combat, but was only able to score 1 point through a chest kick on the period. She showed the abilities that made her reach the final in the second round, when she found Hamada’s head in an early head kick attempt which was followed by a 2 consecutive 2 point actions. On the other hand, Hamada could only score 3 points, and not easy ones, as Kim wasn’t showing many cracks on her defense (9-3). Kim wasn’t going to give the title away, so she connected 2 tremendous head kicks in the final round to confirm herself as the new World Champion of the Women’s -57 kg. Fifth gold medal for Korea!
Lee didn’t want to be less than his recently crowned compatriot, so he perfectly dealt with the local crowd pressure to smash Abel Mendoza (MEX) 16-4 in the Male’s -63 kg final to win Korea’s sixth gold at Puebla 2013 with still 1 minute and 33 seconds to go in the last period. Mendoza couldn’t do anything to contain the number 4 seeded superb attacks. Lee led all the way through the fight, finishing 5-0 ahead in the first round, 12-3 in the second, and finally reaching the decisive 12 point difference at the start of the final round. With his win in Puebla, Lee definitely moved over the 2012 Olympic upset, where he lost to Joel González in the final. He left no doubt about what was is the best player of the division at the moment. And to confirm such an affirmation, we just have to look at his results throughout the draw: 16-3 PTG over Zelaya (GUA), 13-1 PTG against Shen (CHN), 15-3 PTG in front of Khamsehkoli, 21-8 over González (ESP), 9-7 PTF against Wei (TPE) and 16-4 PTG over Mendoza (MEX). An outstanding performance. Congratulations!
Pau Aguilar
(Puebla, Mexico)

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