Saengsin and Cho strike blows for Asian taekwondo
Asian fighters dominated the two taekwondo events at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Tuesday 8 October. Kanthida Saengsin of Thailand collected the first gold of the day in the women’s -55kg category, with Cho Won-hee of Republic of Korea stepping up a few minutes later to win the men’s -63kg category.
The Youth Olympic Park’s Oceania Pavilion was once again full to capacity as the cream of the world’s young taekwondo fighters laid on another exciting day of action.
Saengsin began her day with a narrow 3-2 defeat of China’s Junli Yang in the quarter-finals before easing to a more comfortable 7-3 win over Greece’s Fani Tzeli in the semis. The Thai athlete then made sure of the gold with an impressive 10-6 defeat of Morocco’s Safia Salih.
Fani came back from her loss to the eventual champion to win bronze and was joined on the bottom step of the podium by Sandy Camila Leite Macedo of Brazil.
In the men’s event, meanwhile, Won-hee began his march to gold with a high-octane 41-21 quarter-final win over Argentina’s Ramiro Ravachino, which was followed by an altogether tighter 15-13 defeat of Azebaijan’s Javad Aghayev in the semi-finals.
Won-hee then saw off Nareupong Thepsen of Thailand 21-16 in the final and celebrated by waving his country’s flag on the tatami. Aghayev and Italy’s Gabriele Caulo completed the podium.
“It’s an honour for me to represent my country and wave the Republic of Korea flag high,” said the newly crowned men’s -63kg champion afterwards. “This was my last youth competition and in winning this medal I’ve achieved all my objectives. My aim now is to compete at the Olympic Games.”