Iran dominate Para taekwondo Asian Open

Champions successfully defend titles in South Korea. 03 Jul 2017
three men hold trophies on a podium

Iran were named Best Male Team at the 2017 Asian Open after winning four gold medals.

By EJ Monica Kim | For the IPC

Iran was named Best Male Team at the 2017 World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Asian Para Taekwondo Open after winning four gold medals at the event, which concluded on Saturday (1 July) in Chuncheon, South Korea.

Iran’s world No.1 Mahdi Pourrahnama successfully defended his title in the under 75kg K44 by beating Russia’s Vladimir Feofanov* 16:10.

“I’m very excited to earn my third gold medal at the third edition of the Asian Open. I think that it is a good record in my sporting career, and hope that it can lead to another good result at the 2017 WTF World Para Taekwondo Championships [in London, Great Britain],” Pourrahnama said.

“I shouldn’t lay back. I’ll continue to train hard and analyse competitors’ combat, because their overall level keeps increasing,” he said.

Compatriot Saeid Sadeghianpour also won his second Asian Open gold, ending the contest with world No. 2 Mehmet Sami Sarac of Turkey in the second round of their under 61kg K42 decider.

Ahmad Narimani added a third gold for Iran. He claimed a comprehensive 24:3 victory over defending champion Nyshan Omirali from Kazakhstan, despite suffering a leg injury in the first round of the over 75kg K42 final. He had to be helped to the podium to collect his medal.

Iran’s dominant performance was rounded off by Asghar Aziziaghdam. The 2016 Asian Open bronze medallist successfully upgraded to gold this year, as he overcame Russia’s Bilal Iakhiaev* 17:9.

Mongolia also had reason to celebrate with two gold medals of their own. World No.1 Bolor-Erdene Ganbat beat Iran’s Sajjad Javanbakht (31:16) in the men’s up to 61kg K44. Enkhtuya Khurelbaatar survived a tough contest to defend her title against world No.1 Bursa Gor of Turkey in the under 49kg K44 (12:10)

Khurelbaatar had to settle for silver in the under 61kg K43 though, with France’s Bopha Kong defeating Khurelbaatar for his second Asian Open title.

“My next goal in this season is to achieve a victory again at the European Open, the World Championships and the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports [IWAS] World Games,” Kong said.

Home favourite Kook-hyun Han and USA’s emerging star Evan Medell both suffered earlier-than-expected exits from the competition, losing in the round of 16 of the under 61kg and over 75kg K44, respectively.

It was also an historic tournament for Laos, who made their international debut in Para taekwondo. Pha Manyvong, the only fighter from the country, reached the quarter final of the K42 under 61kg.

The biggest delegation, Russia*, topped the medal table with ten medals (three golds, three silvers, four bronze), followed by Iran (four golds, one silver, one bronze), and then Turkey (two golds, three silvers, six bronze).

The next Continental Championships will be the 2017 Pan American Para Taekwondo Open on 31 August in Costa Rica.


*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.