0602 GMT August 13, 2022
The second day of the 25th Asian Taekwondo Championships in Chuncheon, South Korea, saw four Iranians fail to take one last step toward the ultimate prize as they all settled for runner-up finishes of their respective weight classes.
Representing the country in the women’s -62kg contests, Nastaran Valizadeh beat opponents from Vietnam and Uzbekistan before suffering a final defeat against home favorite Nam Min-seo.
Mobina Ne’matzadeh also finished her campaign with a silver after falling to a defeat against China’s Guo Qing in the women’s -49kg final showdown.
Mir-Hashem Hosseini, a world silver medalist in 2017, outpowered participants from China, Vietnam, and Thailand, only to come short against Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Jaysunov in the men’s -74kg final.
The silver was a second Asian medal for the Iranian, following a gold-winning campaign in 2016.
Mehdi Haji Mousaei, meanwhile, delivered impressive performances in the morning session to book a place in the men’s -58kg final, but found it tough against the 2019 world champion Bae Jun-seo, who had the support of the South Korean spectators at the Hoban Gymnasium.
Saturday’s medals came a day after Iranian Nahid Kiani had outclassed Charos Kayumova of Uzbekistan for the women’s -53kg gold.
A fourth Asian medal in six years for Kiani was only a third women’s gold for the country in the history of competition, following triumphs for Fatemeh Ne’mati (2008) and Negar Esmaeili (2021).
Also on the first day of the competitions, Zahra Sheidaei and Danial Bozorgi grabbed consolation bronzes of the women’s -57kg and men’s -68kg categories respectively.
The second-day results left South Korea on top of the team table – courtesy of four golds, as well as one silver and bronze apiece.
Uzbekistan and China are second and third, with both countries having two golds and only separated by a single silver.
Iran is fourth in the table.
Former world and Asian champion Farzan Ashourzadeh, as well as Amirmohammad Bakhshi – an Asian gold winner in 2018 – and Alireza Nad’alian are yet to represent Iran in the men’s contests.
Zahra Pour-Esmaeil and Akram Khodabandeh, meanwhile, will have the chance to add to the country’s medal haul in the women’s event.
The four-day event in the South Korean city comes days after Iran bagged one gold, six silvers, and three bronze medals at the 7th Asian Taekwondo Poomsae Championships.