France leads the way with two gold medals in Auckland, New Zealand.
Australia’s Steven Currie made the most of competing at the Oceania Open by winning gold in the men’s K42 under 75kg event.
As a G4/G2 event, Oceania athletes are able to earn more points than their non-Oceania competitors. Currie’s victory sees the Australian jump three places to sit third in the world rankings.
French fighters led the way at the third Oceania Open with Bopha Kong and Alain Akakpo both winning gold. Kong, already the world No. 1 in the K43 under 61kg division, widened his lead from 36 to 61 points. Akakpo, in his first year of international competition, rocketed up 19 positions in the rankings to No. 13.
Akakpo’s impressive win came in perhaps the most competitive division in Auckland – the men’s K44 under 75kg, which featured No. 6-raniked Felix Sabates from the USA. Despite losing the final, Sabates moves up three positions to No. 3 in the world.
Akakpo is a military veteran who lost his arm when a faulty grenade exploded in his hand during a training exercise. He moved to Para taekwondo after competing in both Para athletics and at the Invictus Games in sitting volleyball. The talented athlete was trained in boxing before the accident.
The biggest surprise of the tournament came when American Evan Medell defeated Croatian world No. 1 Ivan Miculic in the K44 over 75kg division. The thrilling win moved him up one spot to No. 4 in the world rankings, less than one point behind Russia’s Zainutdin Ataev.
Japan also saw two athletes make moves in June’s rankings: Chikara Ito moves into the top 10 to sit at No. 9 in the men’s K44 under 61kg division, while Kentaro Takahashi moves up two places to No. 13 in the K42 under 75 kg division.
To see the full world rankings, please click here.
The next world ranking event will be the Asia Para Taekwondo Open in Chuncheon, South Korea on 1 July. This marks the first time that a Para Taekwondo event will be held in the birthplace of Taekwondo. For this reason, the event is expected to draw a very strong field.