Several athletes on the move up after four gold medals at the Asian Open in Chuncheon, South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (August 1, 2017) – If the third Asian Open is any indication, fighters still have a ways to go to catch up with the favorites. Iran was named the top men’s team of the tournament after claiming four gold medals – and each had at least one Asian championship under their belts before the tournament began.
The Asian Open is a G4/G2 event, allowing Asian athletes the opportunity to earn double ranking points in their home event.
World champion and #1-ranked Mahdi Pourrahnamaahmad is still the class of the under 75kg K44 division and increased his rankings lead over Russia’s Vitali Nazarenko to 127.41 points. It was his third straight Asian Open title.
Asghar Aziaghdam (over 75kg K44) claimed his second Asian Open title to move up three spots to #2 in the world behind Croatia’s Ivan Mikulic. After winning the inaugural tournament, he finished third in 2016.
Ahmad Narimani avenged his 2016 loss in the final to world #1 Nyshan Omirali of Kazakhstan by returning the favour with a 24:3 victory to move into third in the over 75kg K42 division, while Saeid Sadeghianpour claimed his second Asian Open title in as many years to increase his #1 ranking in the under 61kg K42 division to 45.4 points.
Mongolia also has strong showing
Iran wasn’t the only nation to see repeat winners. Mongolia’s two-time world champion and world #1 Bolor-Erdene Ganbat won his third straight Asian championship in the under 61kg K44 men’s division to increase his rankings lead to 76.6 points over Russia’s Askhat Akmatov.
Ganbat defeated Iran’s Sajjad Javanbakht in the final for the second straight year. Despite the loss, the Iranian controlled Akmatov in the semifinal to jump four places to third in the division.
In maybe the tournament’s most exciting final, Mongolia’s #4-ranked Enkhtuya Khrelbaatar defeated Turkey’s #1-ranked Bursa Gor on a sudden death ‘golden point’ in the under 49kg K44 event. The win sees her move to third in the division.
August’s ‘Movers & Shakers’
France’s #1-ranked Bopha Kong won his fourth tournament this season in the under 61kg K43 men’s division. He has also claimed titles at the Oceania Open, the African Open, and the US Open.
Turkey’s Mehmet Serkan Serpici knocked off world #2 Mahmoud Jafarzadeh of Iran in the semifinal of the under 75kg K42 men’s division to top a tough field featuring six of the division’s top 10 fighters. The result sees him move up two places to #6.
The Asian Open saw Laos make a memorable debut when Pha Manyvong won his first international fight. The 20-year-old fighter lost to world #1 Sadeghianpour in the quarterfinal.
Great Britain Readies to Host the World
In advance of hosting the world championships in October, Great Britain sent a strong team of four fighters to South Korea. The contingent was led by Britain’s biggest Para taekwondo star, Amy Truesdale, who moved into the world #1 rank after winning Asian Open gold with a convincing 24:9 victory over Uzbekistan’s #6-ranked Gulonoy Naimova in the women’s over 58kg K44 event. Truesdale won bronze and silver at the last two world championships.
Other British fighters to get their first taste of international action before the world championships included Joseph Lane (under 75kg K44 men’s), Matt Bush (over 75kg K44 men’s), and Leif Thobroe (under 61kg K42 men’s), who picked up the sport after sustaining a spinal injury while playing rugby union.
There is just one more tournament for athletes to gain rankings points before October’s world championships. Next up for the fighters is the Pan American Open, set to take place 29 August in San Jose, Costa Rica.
To see the full world rankings, please click here.
By Lee Reaney | For the IPC