There’s no doubt that the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships will be remembered for a long time, and just for the fact that the event was held in Great Britain for the first time.
British fighters scored three memorable victories, including a controversial third world title for heavyweight Bianca Walkden.
She had won world titles in 2015 and 2017, but was facing 2016 Olympic gold medalist Shuyin Zheng of China in the final. As the World Taekwondo report of the final noted:
“Walkden took an early lead in the first round. Zheng evened up the scores with a kick to the body at the start of the second round and by the start of the third round was in the lead. However, in the third round she was penalised for a 10th gam-jeon which resulted in an automatic disqualification and Walkden was awarded the gold.”
In fact, Walkden was down 20-10 with a minute to go, but knew that Zheng – with seven penalties – was close to the limit, and that 10 would result in disqualification.
Zheng was furious and so was Chinese head coach Guan Jianmin, who told Xinhua News Agency the result was “a scandal” and “very dirty.” He added that, “I have been doing this sport for 16 years but this is the first time I realized taekwondo can be played like this.”
A British media report explained “Walkden capitalised on Zheng’s defensive style with brutal aggression which repeatedly pushed the Chinese fighter off the mat. Although some will question the ‘sportsmanship’ Walkden showed, she fought within the rules. She was in tears herself as she took to the podium amidst a chorus of boos but was defiant in her post-fight interviews, insisting she would use the same tactics again.’Obviously it wasn’t nice [to hear the boos], but I never gave up and was going to die out there fighting for the win, which I think showed,’ said Walkden.’I did what I had to and I’m now a three-time world champion, which they can’t take away from me.’”
There was no doubt about the other two wins. Bradly Sinden, 20, faced Korea’s three-time World Champion Dae-Hoon Lee in the semis, but managed a 24-23 victory and then edged Spain’s Javier Perez, 24-21, in the final.
Jade Jones, the 2012-16 Olympic champ at 57 kg; finally won her first World Championship title after a silver in 2011 and a bronze in 2017. She had to overcome 2017 World Champion Ah-Reum Lee of Korea, and did so with a 14-7 victory. Jones was named as the outstanding female fighter of the tournament.
Korea’s Jun Jang, the winner at 58 kg, was named the outstanding men’s fighter of the event.
There were only two repeat winners from 2017, both women: Walkden at +73 kg and Jae-Young Sim (KOR) at -46 kg. There were also three winners from 2015: Walkden, Panipak Wongpattanakitt (THA: -49 kg) and Irem Yaman (TUR: -62 kg).
Korea and China led the medal with seven each, but the Koreans had four wins (4-1-2) while China had to settle for two (2-2-3). Brazil had five total medals (0-2-3) and Britain (3-0-1) led a group of five countries who won four, including Russia (1-2-1), Turkey (1-1-2), Mexico (0-3-1) and Croatia (0-0-4).
It was quite a show. Summaries:
World Taekwondo Championships
Manchester (GBR) ~ 15-19 May 2019
(Full results here)
-54 kg: 1. Jun-Seo Bae (KOR); 2. Georgy Popov (RUS); 3. Paulo Melo (BRA) and Armin Hadipour Seighalani (IRI). Final: Bae d. Popov, 53-24.
-58 kg: 1. Jun Jang (KOR); 2. Brandon Plaza Hernandez (MEX); 3. Lucas Guzman (ARG) and Rui Braganca (POR). Final: Jang d. Plaza, 25-9.
-63 kg: 1. Shuai Zhao (CHN); 2. Soroush Ahmadi (IRI); 3. Jaouad Achab (BEL) and Iordanis Konstantinidis (GRE). Final: Zhao d. Ahmadi, 27-7.
-68 kg: 1. Bradly Sinden (GBR); 2. Javier Perez (ESP); 3. Dae-Hoon Lee (KOR) and Alexey Denisenko (RUS). Final: Sinden d. Perez, 24-21.
-74 kg: 1. Simone Alessio (ITA); 2. Ahmad Abughuash (JOR); 3. Kairat Sarymsakov (KAZ) and Daniel Quesada Barrera (ESP). Final: Alession d. Abughuash, 18-11.
-80 kg: 1. Milad Beigi (AZE); 2. Apostolos Telikostoglou (GRE); 3. Moses Hernandez (DOM) and Woo-Hyeok Park (KOR). Final: Beigi d. Telikostoglou, 22-12.
-87 kg: 1. Vladislav Larin (RUS); 2. Ice Miguel Soares (BRA); 3. Zhaoxiang Song (CHN) and Ivan Sapina (CRO). Final: Larin d. Soares, 19-9.
+87 kg: 1. Rafael Alba (CUB); 2. Carlos Sansores (MEX); 3. Hamza Kattan (JOR) and Maicon Andrade (BRA). Final: Alba d. Sansores, 9-5.
-46 kg: 1. Jae-Young Sim (KOR); 2. Mahla Momenzadeh (IRI); 3. Xueqin Tan (CHN) and Julanan Khantikulanon (THA). Final: Sim d. Momenzadeh, 11-6.
-49 kg: 1. Panipak Wongpattanakitt (THA); 2. Jingyu Wu (CHN); 3. Kristina Tomic (CRO) and Rukiye Yildirim (TUR). Final: Wongpattanakitt d. Wu, 21-6.
-53 kg: 1. Phannapa Harnsujin (THA); 2. Tatiana Kudashova (RUS); 3. Aaliyah Powell (GBR) and Inese Tarvida (LAT). Final: Harnsujin d. Kudashova, 20-10.
-57 kg: 1. Jade Jones (GBR); 2. Ah-Reum Lee (KOR); 3. Skylar Park (CAN) and Lijun Zhou (CHN). Final: Jones d. Lee, 14-7.
-62 kg: 1. Irem Yaman (TUR); 2. Caroline Santos (BRA); 3. Bruna Vuletic (CRO) and Magda Wiet-Henin (FRA). Final: Yaman d. Santos, 21-7.
-67 kg: 1. Mengyu Zhang (CHN); 2. Nur Tatar (TUR); 3. Farida Azizova (AZE) and Milena Titoneli (BRA). Final: Zhang d. Tatar, 18-9.
-73 kg: 1. Da-Bin Lee (KOR); 2. Maria Espinoza (MEX); 3. Marie Paule Ble (FRA) and Nifia Kus (TUR). Final: Lee d. Espinoza, 22-2.
+73 kg: 1. Bianca Walkden (GBR); 2. Shuyin Zheng (CHN); 3. Doris Pole (CRO) and Briseda Acosta (MEX). Final: Walkden declared winner by Punitive Declaration (Zheng leading 20-11).