Iran claimed the runner-up spots of the boys and girls events at the Sofia 2022 World Taekwondo Junior Championships, courtesy of a total of eight medals – including six golds.
Abolfazl Abbasi – world cadet gold medalist in 2019 – brought the curtain down on a glittering campaign for the country on Sunday, thanks to a commanding victory (14-4, 18-8) over South Korean Lyu Kuk-hwan in the boys’ +78kg final.
This was a fourth gold for Iran, which still managed to finish behind South Korea with 509 points in the boys table despite sending an incomplete team of five to the Bulgarian capital.
Abolfazl Zandi (-48kg), Matin Rezaei (-63kg), and Reza Kalhor (-73kg) had also walked away with the ultimate prizes of their respective weight categories.
South Korea’s 10-member team bagged seven medals – five golds – and 720 points, with Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Italy standing third to fifth respectively.
Mohammadreza Zavvar, who first led Iran to the boys title in 2010, was back in charge after eight years to celebrate yet another glorious campaign with the country.
Having won the girls trophy with Iran in 2016 with two golds and bronzes apiece, head coach Fatemeh Safarpour steered the country to a best-ever medal haul in the history of the competition – two golds and two silver medals.
Sogand Shiri came out on top in the -42kg contests, while Mobina Ne’matzadeh cruised to the -49kg gold to add to her silver at the Asian seniors championship in late June.
The golds were coupled with double silvers, through Parnia Salmani (-44kg) and Saghar Moradi (-63kg), as Iran tallied 370 points.
South Korea was also crowned the girls champion with five golds – plus a silver and a bronze – and 718 points.
Turkey (211pts), Belgium (127), and Germany (94) followed Iran in the standings.
The achievements came days after Iran had won a remarkable five golds and one silver to retain the girls’ cadet title in Sofia.
Baran Jamal-Livani (-29kg), Parnian Nouri (-44kg), Sayna Alipour (-51kg), and Hana Zarrin-Kamar (-59kg) scooped four gold medals, with Parnian Saki (-37kg) and Fatemeh Baqerzadeh (-41kg) leaving the Bulgarian capital with a couple of silvers.
Meanwhile, Mohammad-Mehdi Sa’adati (-49kg) and Radin Zeynali (-61kg) won two golds and Mohammad-Erfan Zare’ settled for a -65kg silver as Iran’s cadet team stood on the boys’ second podium.
Top to bottom: Iran’s Abolfazl Abbasi, Reza Kalhor, Mobina Ne’matzadeh, Sogand Shiri, Matin Rezei, and Abolfazl Zandi pose with their gold medals at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.