BAKU, Azerbaijan (May 29, 2023) - Hungary and Great Britain finished the first day of the Baku 2023 World Taekwondo Championships with the top honours as Luana Marton won gold in the women’s -57kg and Bradley Sinden took gold in the men’s -68kg.
Marton started the day as a relative underdog; outside of the top 10 seeds in her category and having never competed in a senior World Championships. However, the 17-year-old did not let this faze her and upset the odds to win her first World Championships title. The silver medal went to Chinese Taipei’s Chia‐Ling Lo and bronze medals went to Maria Clara Pacheco of Brazil and Hatice Kubra Ilgun of Turkey.
In the men’s -68kg it was a different story with number 1 seed Sinden progressing through the rounds to win gold in commanding style. The silver medal went to Ho-Jun Jin of Korea and the bronzes were won by Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov and Matin Rezaei of Iran.
The final of the women’s -57kg drew together Marton against Chinese Taipei’s Olympic gold medallist from Tokyo 2020, Chia‐Ling Lo. Lo went into the final brimming with confidence having defeated two-time Olympic champion Jade Jones and Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Hatice Kubra Ilgun on the way to the final.
Lo boasts a 10cm height and leg advantage over Marton, but it was the teenage Hungarian who landed the first points with a kick to the body which was enough to win the round 2-0. Within seconds of the second round, Lo managed what she had failed to do in the first round and landed a kick to the body, only for Marton to respond immediately with a body kick of her own. A second body kick gave Marton a 4-2 advantage going into the last minute of the round. Lo pushed for points but could not break down Marton’s defence and the Hungarian won the round 4-3 to take the gold medal.
En route to the final, Marton defeated Maria Clara Pacheco of Brazil in an intense low-scoring two-round match. In the second semi-final it looked as though Turkey’s experienced Ilgun would advance after she beat Lo relatively comfortably in the first round. But Lo fought back strongly in the second and third rounds to win the match.
The men’s -68kg final saw Sinden face Korea’s number six seed and Manchester 2022 World Taekwondo Grand Prix gold medallist Ho-Jun Jin. Sinden broke the deadlock in the opening round with a kick to the head but failed to keep his balance immediately conceding a Gam-jeom to Jin. Another Gam-jeom for Sinden brought the scores within one point, but the Briton was able to hold on to win the first round 3-2. The second round saw both fighters come out and attack which was reflected in a higher-scoring round. A flurry of kicks to the body gave Sinden a four-point lead which he was able to grow as he precisely picked off Jin with counter kicks to the body. Sinden won the round with a convincing score of 16-9.
Sinden had met 17 year old Matin Rezaei of Iran in the semi-final and his experience shone through as he recorded a commanding 2-0 victory. In the second of the semi-finals, Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Ulugbek Rashitov was just three seconds away from booking his place in the final when Jin landed a kick to the body to take the match to a third round. In the final round, Rashitov was again less than 10 seconds away from the win when again Jin landed a kick to the body to win the round and match 2-1.
The World Championships will continue tomorrow with the men’s -58kg and women’s -67kg and -73kg.