Sajjad Mardani settled for a consolation bronze at the World Taekwondo Championships as a third Iranian saw his campaign end in a last-four defeat in Guadalajara, Mexico.
On Day 4 of the event, Mardani came short against home favorite Carlos Sansores – a 2019 world silver medalist – in three rounds and shared the third podium of the men’s +87kg class with Song Zhaoxiang of China.
A world silver winner in 2013, Mardani started on the front foot against Sansores, winning the first round 3-1, but the Mexican still managed to walk away with the victory as he was given superiority wins in the next two rounds after they finished 3-3 and 2-2 respectively.
The Mexican went on to beat Spaniard Ivan Garcia in straight rounds (5-3, 4-0) for the ultimate prize.
The day started with a hard-fought 2-1 victory (3-0, 6-7, 4-2) for Mardani over Venezuelan Luis Alvarez, before he came out on top against Andrii Harbar of Ukraine in two rounds (3-2, 4-2) to head into the quarterfinals.
Mardani then defeated Alasan Ann of Gambia 2-0 (3-2, 4-2) for a last-four place.
Reza Kalhor (-68kg) and Mehran Barkhordari (-80kg) had bagged a couple of bronze medals for Iran in Guadalajara after suffering semifinal defeats in their respective weight classes.
Meanwhile, Iran’s disappointing run in the women’s contests continued on Thursday when team captain Akram Khodabandeh fell to a last-16 defeat (11-4, 3-1) against Germany’s Lorena Brandl in the +73kg class.
Khodabandeh is the fourth Iranian woman to leave Mexico empty-handed following Ghazal Soltani, Narges Mirnourollahi, and Zeinab Esmaeili.