0243 GMT March 26, 2019
Iran’s campaign at the 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships came to a glittering end in Tunisia as a total of nine medals including seven golds gave the Iranian boys a first-place finish at the prestigious competitions.
On Friday and the final day of the competitions in the Tunisian city of Hammamet, Mohammad-Ali Khosravi outmuscled Lim Jin-hong of South Korea by a 41-21 scoreline in the men’s -78kg final bout to take Iran’s gold tally to seven.
Mohammad-Mehdi Emadi (-68kg), Ali Eshkevarian (-73kg), Hamed Asghari (-59kg), Amir Valipour (-51kg), Amir-Sina Bakhtiari (-55kg) and Hossein Lotfi (-45kg) were all among the gold winners in the Iranian outfit.
Additionally, Nima Mehr-Ali, representing the country in the men’s +78kg contests, had to settle for a joint bronze medal after he was beaten by his Turkish opponent in the semifinals on Friday.
Erfan Moradi had earlier won a bronze in the men’s -63kg competitions while Mobina Kalivand scooped Iran’s sole medal in the women’s copmpetitions after she picked up a bronze in the -42kg contests.
A total of seven gold medals and two bronzes secured the title for Iran’s men’s team with 110 points while second-placed South Korea, tallying 54 points, only managed to collect one gold, one silver and two bronzes with Turkey finishing third with 52 points, having grabbed one gold and two silvers.
Iran’s Lotfi claimed the Most Valuable Player Award in the men’s competitions after he outpowered all of his opponents by a 20-point advantage en route to the -45kg gold.
“I was confident in myself,” Lotfi said speaking after picking the gold medal.
“I came to perform to the best of my abilities.
“I feel quite excellent. It is a reward for all the hard work that I have put into this,” the Iranian youngster added.
Meanwhile, Iran’s head coach Vahid Abdollahi was awarded with the Best Male Coach trophy.
“No team had ever won the title in such dominant fashion. To finish first with seven golds and a 50-point advantage over the second place is a unique occasion in the 24-year history of the competitions,” Abdollahi said of Iran’s campaign.
President Hassan Rouhani offered his gratitude and appreciation over Iran’s triumph at the end of competitions.
“Such proud excellence and hoisting the flag and echoing the national anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the world brings a wave of happiness and hope to the home of every Iranian and promises conquering the peaks of tomorrow,” Rouhani said in message on Friday.
“I hereby congratulate to all dear Iranians over this invaluable victory and express my appreciation to all officials, coaches and hardworking athletes, asking the Almighty success for all athletes, especially the young and teenagers of our country.”
The tournament brought together 950 male and female taekwondo practitioners from 118 countries, including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Germany, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.