A rather disappointing run at the World Taekwondo Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, saw Iran settle for three bronze medals across 14 men’s and women’s weight classes.
Hossein Lotfi and Mahla Momenzadeh were the last Iranians to leave the event empty-handed on Sunday.
Participating in the men’s -58kg contests, Lotfi beat opponents from Guatemala, Spain, and Morocco before suffering a 2-0 (3-1, 8-6) defeat against Tunisia’s Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi – a silver medalist in last year’s Tokyo Olympics – in the quarterfinals.
Having recovered from a yearlong injury, Momenzadeh stepped into the competition hoping to emulate her successful 2019 campaign, which saw her win a silver in Manchester, but was stunned by Huang Ying-hsuan of the Chinese Taipei in the first round, falling to a 2-1 (1-6, 5-4, 5-1) setback.
All three medals for Iran came in the men’s event, where the country was represented by eight athletes, with Reza Kalhor (-68kg), Mehran Barkhordari (-80kg), and Sajjad Mardani (+87kg) finishing on the third podium of their respective classes.
The Iranian women’s team took part in the competition fresh from a first-ever Asian crown in June but was left undone as all six members of the squad were knock out before the last-four round.
South Korea stood atop the men’s standings, thanks to double golds for Kwon Do-yun and Park Woo-hyeok, as well as one silver and bronze apiece.
The country has been the dominant force of the men’s competition over 25 editions, as Iran remains the only team to have knocked South Koreans off their perch on a couple of occasions – in 2011 and 2015.
South Korea was followed by Spain and Mexico in the table, while the host collected two golds for the women’s crown, with China and Serbia in the following spots.
Mehdi Khodabakhshi, who won a world gold for Iran in 2015 but represented Serbia in Mexico, took home the men’s Most Valuable Player award after grabbing the ultimate prize in the -87kg contest.
Meanwhile, a gold-winning performance in the -49kg class saw home-favorite Daniela Paola Souza named the women’s MVP.