Asian Games: Iran, Uzbekistan win gold in Taekwondo
The Jakarta Post
Taekwondoins from Iran and Uzbekistan won two gold medals in the men's 63 kilogram and 80 kg categories respectively on Wednesday, to put a stop to South Korea's dominance in the sport it founded.
Nikita Rafalovich, 24, of Uzbekistan defeated South Korea's favorite Lee Hwa-jun, 22, 21-18 in the final held at the Jakarta Convention Center in the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex, to collect the first gold medal for his country in Taekwondo in this year's Asian Games.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Hosseini Mirhashem of Iran clinched a gold medal after beating 23-year-old Zhao Shuai of China 17-11 in the final. He previously defeated South Korea's Cho Gang-min 37-29 in the semifinals.
"I am happy because I have never beaten a Chinese [athlete], but today I am finally able to break that [bad] record," Hosseini told The Jakarta Post via a translator, adding that he was motivated by the presence of Iranian supporters that flew to Indonesia to support him.
Indonesian athletes Ibrahim Zarman and Dinggo Ardian were knocked out in the quarterfinal and round of 32 respectively.
South Korea, the birthplace of taekwondo, remains on top of the sport, winning four of 12 gold medals so far.
The contest will resume on Thursday when two remaining gold medals are up for grabs in the women's 49 kg and men's 68 kg categories.
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