Puebla 2013 Day 7: Australia and Germany shine in World Champs' closing day
Australia and Germany did not want to go back home from Puebla without any gold in their backpacks, so they kept their best performances of the 2013 World Championships for the last Day of action. Carmen Marton (AUS) became the first Taekwondo fighter from the Oceania country to win a World Championships title after beating Hwi-Lang Kim from Korea by 7-3 in the Female’s -62 kg final, while Tahir Guelec (GER) led his country to the top of the podium for the first time in Puebla after defeating the local athlete René Lizárraga by 8-7 in the Male’s -80 kg crucial fight.
The bronze medallists of both categories ended up being Nicolás García (ESP) and Anton Kotkov (RUS) in Men’s -80 kg and Rabia Guelec (GER) and Nina Klaey (SUI) in Women’s -62 kg. After the last 2 titles of the event, Korea finished on top of the Medal Count with 6 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze, followed by Cuba with 2 golds and 3 bronzes, and the hosting country Mexico with 1 gold, 3 silvers and 1 bronze.
The Australian Carmen Marton was the first female fighter to access the -62 kg Final after beating the German Rabia Guelec by 7-2 in a match which was always under the Oceania’s control. However, Marton could not reflect her superiority on the first period scoreboard, which finished 0-0 thanks to Guelec’s dodging abilities. The second round turned out being decisive, as Guelec started to feel the demanding competition on her legs. Marton took advantage of it to score 7 points, allowing the German to only connect one chest kick (7-1). Marton changed her strategy for the 3rd round and left almost no cracks for Guelec to get back into the fight. In the end, 7-2 and first and only gold medal chance for Australia.
The Aussie’s rival in the big final ended up being the Korean Hwi-Lang Kim, who defeated the Swiss Nina Klaey by 8-4 after coming back from a slow start. Klaey led the first period by 3-2 and looked like the better player on the tatami, but started to struggle at the beginning of the second round, as the Korean started to be more aggressive. Kim connected no less than 4 chest kicks to turn the score into a 6-3 lead for the Asian giants. In the last round, she controlled the pace of the fight and managed to go through by 8-4. Korea had reached its 9th crucial fight in Puebla.
The first Male’s -80 kg clash of the session confronted the German Tahir Guelec, Rabia’s brother, and the Russian Anton Kotkov. Guelec needed a sudden death point in the very last seconds of the extra period to demolish Kotkov’s defense, which proved to be one of the bests of the division throughout the day. The German accessed his first big international final by 3-2 eventually. After a no scoring first round, he had taken control of the fight in the second one, scoring through 2 chest kicks, which forced Kotkov to be more offensive in the final period. The Russian did well and Guelec saw the match tied to 2 at the end of the regular time.
Guelec’s opponent for the gold turned to be the local idol René Lizárraga, who got rid of the Spanish “rock” and silver medallist at London 2012, Nicolás García, in an absolute thriller. The Mexican was always in front of the match despite García’s spectacular defensive moves, finishing 1-0 ahead in the first round, and extending his lead to 5-1 at the end of the second period. But as everyone within Taekwondo knows, you can never underestimate Nico’s fighting spirit. The Spaniard showed the local crowd why he was only 1 point away from the Olympic glory, coming back with 4 consecutive and powerful chest kicks to tie the match to 5 in the very last second, when the spectators were already celebrating his man’s win. The sudden death needed almost a minute to be decided, and it was the Mexican the first to connect a chest kick into his rival’s body with the sufficient power to score the golden point. Mexico had reached another final and the crowd went literally crazy.
Carmen Marton became the first Australian to win a gold medal in Taekwondo World Championships history after defeating the Korean Hwi-Lang Kim by 7-3 with an extraordinary back head kick with only 2 seconds to go, when the score was tied to 3. Marton and Lee had proved themselves as the best athletes of the -62 kg category by far during the day, and showed a really balanced Taekwondo level throughout the fight. But in the end, the Australian deserved to win the gold after not contenting herself with the extra time and connecting such a spectacular action in a very risky moment of the match. Congratulations Carmen and welcome to the golden family, Australia!
Time for the local hope to battle for the Men’s -80 kg gold against Tahir Guelec from Germany. René Lizárraga seemed to fly on the central tatami of the Puebla Exhibition Center for the first 2 rounds, making it simply impossible for the German to control his attacks, too quick for him. Lizárraga achieved an 1 point lead in the first period, which he extended to 4 in the second thanks a to an unexpected right head kick in the last second. Even though the action was appealed by the German coach, René sat on his resting chair with 5-1 ahead and only 1 period to battle. The local spectators were already rubbing their hands, but they didn’t know Guelec had kept his best weapons for the last 2 minutes, scoring no less than 7 points. He found Lizárraga’s chest in 4 occasions to level the match to 5, and took advantage of the Mexican’s lapse of concentration after scoring a chest kick to respond with an absolutely unexpected and unstoppable right head kick, turning the score into an 8-6 lead with just 10 seconds to play. Lizárraga tried it hard to come back, but there was simply no time enough… 8-7 and first title for Germany.