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Park Woo-hyeok wins S. Korea's 5th gold in taekwondo

Sept. 27, 2023 - 19:18 By Yonhap
South Korea's Park Woo-hyeok (left) celebrates his victory in the final of the men's -80kg taekwondo competition at Lin'an Sports Culture & Exhibition Centre in Hangzhou, China, during the 19th Asian Games. (Yonhap)

HANGZHOU, China -- South Korea's Park Woo-hyeok captured the country's fifth Asian Games gold medal in taekwondo Wednesday.

In the final of the men's -80kg competition at Lin'an Sports Culture & Exhibition Centre in Hangzhou, China, Park beat Saleh Elsharabaty of Jordan 2-0.

The medal is Kim's first Asian Games title and South Korea's fifth gold medal in the Korean martial art at Hangzhou following two from the poomsae competition and three from the kyorugi competition.

Park also became the first South Korean Asian Games champion in the -80kg competition, the welterweight class, since 2002.

In the final, he faced one of the strongest gold medal contenders in the Hangzhou Asiad, Jordan's Elsharabaty, the silver medalist in the weight class at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago.

After winning the first round 8-5, Park took a 4-0 lead with 40 seconds to go. But he soon let the Jordanian gain a 5-4 lead on a series of kicks to the head and body in a few seconds.

With two penalties on Elsharabaty, Park regained the lead and sealed the victory at 6-5.

The semifinal match against Mehran Barkhordari of Iran was more difficult for Park. The Korean won the first round 6-3 but lost the second 11-8. In the deciding third round, the two tied at 10-10 but Park grabbed the berth in the final by the total points earned from actual attacks.

Park was a strong gold medal hopeful among the Korean Asian Games participants for his recent performances on the world stage.

The 23-year-old was crowned world champion in the men's -80kg class in the 2022 worlds, becoming the first South Korean taekwondo practitioner to win the world title at the welterweight level since 1999.

With Park's gold, South Korea extended its winning streak in taekwondo to a fourth consecutive day starting last Sunday.

Kang Wan-jin and Cha Yea-eun each won the men's and women's individual poomsae, a non-contact pattern demonstration taekwondo competition, on Sunday, followed by Jang Jun in the men's -58kg on Monday and Park Hye-jin in the -53kg on Tuesday. (Yonhap)