History was made in Tokyo at the first day of the Taekwondo event at the Olympic Games. Amazing fights of our European athletes, resulting in 5 medals! Female under 49 kg and Male under 58 kg were scheduled for today.
Abishag Semberg, representing Israel was the first bronze medal winner in the Female under 49 kg. In the first round she beat Puerto Rico with an amazing 22-2 score. In the round of 16, she was lost from Thailand with 29-5 but in the repechage contest she was back on track again by winning from Vietnam with 22-1. In the Bronze medal contest, Turkish Rukiye Yildrim was a tough opponent who fought to the last minute with all she got. Abishag won this exciting Bronze medal contest by 27-22.
Mikhail Artamonov started his Olympic journey by fighting against Tunisia’s Jendoubi. Tunisia won the contest with 25-18. Jendoubi followed his dream and kicked himself to the finals, leaving Mikhail ready to start his repechage contests! First, Ethiopia was defeated by 27-5. In the bronze medal contest, Argentina’s Guzman was the opponent and Mikhail showed who was the strongest athlete on the mat: 15-10 win. The bronze medal for Russians Mikhail Artamov was a fact!!
Our third bronze medal winner comes from Serbia: Tijana Bogdanovic! Round of 16 was tough for Tijana while fighting against the Spanish 17 year old talent Adriana Cerezo Inglesias. Spain won the contest with 12-4. As Spain proceeded to the finals. Tijana could enter the repechage phase. She did what she needed to do and claimed victory over double Olympic Champion (2008/2012) Jingyu Wu from China. In the bronze medal contest Tijana was in top shape and she beat Japan with an amazing score of 20-6. After an Olympic silver medal in Rio, Tijana can add an Olympic bronze medal here at Tokyo!
Youngster Adriana Cerezo Inglesias, the 17-year-old Spanish athlete had already shown that she was undeniably a strong candidate for an Olympic medal in Tokyo. As the expectations were high for this talented kid from Spain, Adriana was more than just superior in the rounds leading up to the Olympic Gold medal contest. First, she beat Serbian Bogdanovic with a clear 12-4 victory. In the quarter finals, Adriana showed the world how extremely talented she is by defeating double Olympic Champion Jingyu Wu from China with an unbelievable score of 33-2! In the semi-finals, Adriana met Turkish Yildirim. Also, in this contest, Adriana was superior by winning with again an amazing score of 39-19. The Gold medal contest was waiting and Thailand’s Wongpattanakit, ranked number 1 at the Olympic ranking turned out to be a worthy opponent! In the first round, Adriana was leading by 2:4. After the second round, the score was 9-6 in favor of the Thai athlete. In the third round, both athletes proved that they both deserved the gold medal. While leading at first, Adriana was defeated in the last seconds of the contest. Silver for Adriana and for Spain!
The last gold medal contest of the day was between Italy’s Vito Dell’Aquila and Tunisia’s Jendoubi. Vito was in top shape and started his golden journey by winning from Hungary’s Omar Salim: 26-13. He continued his gold medal quest by strongly defeating Thailand by 37:17. In the semi-finals, Vito was fighting against Argentina’s Guzman. Also, in this fight Vito showed to the world that he was in a superior mode. He won the contest by 29:10. In the finals, Vito found Tunisia’s Jendoubi waiting for him. Jendoubi started off strong and led after one round with 5-2. Jendoubi continued his strong performance in round 2 and scored an additional 4 points. Vito fought back and scored 6 points, but still facing a 9-6 score while starting the 3rd and final round of the day. Starting the third round with a Gam-Jeom, Vito has his eyes set for the gold medal and he showed his superiority. With 1:08 on the clock, Vito brought the score back to 10-10. With only 13 seconds on the clock, Vito twice 2 points. With only 11 seconds on the clock, Jendoubi fought back: 2 points making the bringing the score to 12-14 for Italy. Vito did what all Italians and European were hoping for: he scored an additional 2 points with only 9 seconds left on the clock. Vito won Olympic Gold, by defeating Tunisia with 16-12!
With 5 medals for Europe, 2 medals for Asia and 1 medal for Africa, the tone is set for these Olympic Games. All medal winners, their coaches and support staff: congratulations for this amazing result!!!