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US Open 2013 report: A G-3 level event

US Open 2013 report: A G-3 level event

Mexico and France, with 3 gold medals each, dominated the Senior division of the US Open 2013, the first G-2 event on WTF’s current calendar, which was succesfully held in Las Vegas (USA) between last Tuesday February 19th and Saturday 23rd. Mexico managed to take the first position of the final standings after collecting 4 silvers and 8 bronzes, while France had to content with the second place after clinching 1 silver and 6 bronzes in total. Slovenia and Germany won 2 titles each, with Canada, Gabon, Thailand, USA, Puerto Rico and Sweden achieving one to complete the results.
Around 2,700 athletes from 75 different countries -including 33 Olympians- took part in the event, which had a total of 6 divisions -Senior, Junior, Cadet, Youth, Ultra and Poomsae- that were displayed in 12 arenas. That respresents a considerable increase in comparison with the 2012 edition, which got together around 1,800 athletes from 64 countries. Taking these excellent figures into account, the Chief Executive Officer of USA Taekwondo, Eric Parthen, has already proposed the WTF an upgrade of the event, which could become a G-3 class competition in the future. This year’s edition used Daedo PSS (Protector and Scoring System) for the third consecutive time to decide the final score of the combats.

Aaron Cook at US Open 2013

Aaron Cook, who had a brilliant return to competition two weeks ago in Trelleborg (Sweden), where he achieved the gold representing the Isle of Man, and the Turkish Servet Tazegul, Olympic champion of the Men’s -68 kg category at London 2012, were the athletes that focused the attention of most of the spectators, who created a great atmosphere during the 5 days of competition that reminded of London 2012’s success.
Cook, US Open 2012 champion, seemed to pay the consequences of the heat of the crowd and showed too much rush to score, which made him forget about the defence. He lost in the third round of the Men’s Welter category against the 17-year old Mexican René Lizarraga, who beat him by 12-7. On the other hand, Tazegul felt more comfortable with the pressure of the spectators, reaching the final of the Men’s Light division, where he was defeated by the Canadian Maxime Potvin.
Olympian medallists at US Open 2013
Dylan Chellamootoo from France took the Men’s Fly category title after getting rid of the Canadian Pascal Laganiere, who was awarded with the silver. Vincent Foster from Canada and Gabriel Martínez from USA completed the final podium. In the Women’s draw, the gold medal was taken by the bronze medallist at London 2012, the Thai Chanatip Sonkham, who beat the Turkish Rukiye Yildrim in the crucial combat. Julissa Diez Canseco from Peru and the Mexican Jannet Alegria Pena managed to take the bronzes.
Daniel Manz from Germany lifted the title of the Men’s Feather category after beating the Mexican Idulio Islas in the big final. The Brazilian Diogo Silva (Olympian at London 2012) and the American Steven Lin, their rivals in the sem-finals, had to content themselves with the bronze. Emely Cartagena took the gold in the Women’s draw in front of Rafaela Viera Araujo from Brazil, who clinched the silver, with Nikita Glasnovic from Serbia and Alba Celia Marcario from Mexico occupying the third step of the podium.

Servet Tazegul (TUR - red) during one of his combats at the US Open 2013

The Men’s Light division was won by the Canadian Maxime Potvin, who managed to defeat the Olympic champion Servet Tazegul to achieve the gold. Cristopher Iliesco from Canada and the Mexican Uriel Avigdor Adriano were awarded with the bronze. In the Women’s category, the Swedish Elin Johansson gave no chance to her opponents and became the champion of the draw after winning over Melissa Oneda from Mexico in the crucial fight.  Ashley Kraayeveld from Canada and the French Aline Dossou were the bronze medallists of the division.
The German Tahir Guelec defeated Lenn Hypolite from Trinidad and Tobago to get the Men’s Welter title, with the Mexican Rene Lizarraga Valenzuela and Diego Ramos from Brazil taking the bronze. The Olympian Franka Anic clinched the second gold for Slovenia after getting rid of Melissa Pagnotta from Canada in the big final. The French Haby Niare and the Egyptian Seham El-Sawalhy had to content with the bronze.
The Men’s Middle title was awarded to Augustin Bata from France, who managed to achieve the gold after proving to be better than Alexander Bacjmann from Germany in the final combat. The local Jason Neville and Bata’s compatriot M’bar N’Diaye shared the third step of the podium. In the Women’s division, the double Olympic medallist Maria Espinoza (MEX) showed her high Taekwondo level yeat again to add a new gold medal to her track record. Gulnalfis Aitmukhambetova from Kazakhstan took the second step of the podium, while Rafaela Nogueira de Souza (BRA) and Lauren Hamon (USA) shared the third one.
The silver medallist at London 2012, Anthony Obame from Gabon, demonstrated that his Olympic achievement was not casual and clinched the gold medal of the Men’s Heavy division. Obame beat the Canadian Francois Coulombe-Fortier in the final, with Mahama Cho (FRA) and Ivan Traj Kovic (SLO) taking the bronzes. Another silver medallist at London, the French Anne-Caroline Graffe, shone in Las Vegas after lifting the Women’s Heavy title in front of her compatriot and friend Gwladys Epangue, who was supposed to compete in the Olympics instead of Graffe but had to refuse to participate due to an injury. Two more compatriots, Guadalupe Ruiz Lopez and Briseida Acosta Balarezo, Mexicans in this case, managed to get the bronze medals of the category.

François Coulombe-Fortier (CAN - blue) and Anthony Obame (GAB - red) after the US Open 2013 Men´s Heavy final

Days 3, 4 and 5 Complete Results
Day 2 Complete Results
Day 1 Complete Results 
Pau Aguilar
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