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Taekwondo at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games:

Men's Featherweight

Taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:

Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Venue(s): Carioca Arena 3, Barra Olympic Park, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Date Started: August 18, 2016
Date Finished: August 19, 2016
Format: Single-elimination tournament. All fighters losing to the finalists in each pool advance to repêchage tournament for the bronze medal.

Gold: JOR Ahmad Abughaush
Silver: RUS Aleksey Denisenko
Bronze: ESP Joel González
KOR Lee Dae-Hun

Summary

[Joel González] of Spain had stepped up a division since winning the flyweight gold medal at London 2012 and was optimistic about winning a second gold, particularly after winning silver in the 63kg class at the 2015 World Championships. A strong favourite for the featherweight title, however, was Turkey’s [Servet “The Cheetah” Tazegül], who won in 2012 and was the reigning European and World 68kg Champion, but there were plenty of others to pick from. Seeded one place above Tazegül, in fourth place, was Russia’s [Aleksey Denisenko], who the Turk beat in the 2015 world final in what was described as one of the all-time great taekwondo matches and one many would like to see repeated as the 2016 Olympic final.

The number one seed, and 2015 63kg world champion, was Belgium’s [Jaouad Achab], a flamboyant fighter who was great to watch despite being a bit too light in this 68kg category. The experienced South Korean [Lee Dae-Hun] was number two seed and was a silver medallist in 2012 behind the Spaniard González. The third seed [Saúl Gutiérrez] of Mexico was a 63kg bronze medallist at the 2015 worlds and he was tall, which is a big advantage for attempting head kicks.

Unlike the first day of completion, when the favourites fell by the wayside in the early part of competition, the 68kg class went much to form with Gutiérrez being the only one of the top six seeds to fall in the first round. The fans got the re-run of the Tazegül – Denisenko contest in the quarter-final but, unlike the World Championship final, it was far from a classic as the Russian ran out a 19-6 winner on the points gap rule in the second round.

In the first repêchage, Tazegül, the now deposed defending champion and number five seed, was defeated by 13th seed [Edgar Contreras] of Venezuela in the golden point sudden-death after a 4-4 tie. The first of the bronze medal matches saw Contreras against González hold out for a 4-3 win. The other bronze medal match was between the number one and two seeds, Jaouad Achab and Lee Dae-Hun, and it was a great contest which Lee won 11-7, but the scoreline does not tell the full story of a match that saw the lead change hands several times in the first two rounds.

In the gold medal match, the fourth seed Denisenko had impressed all day with his wide array of skills, whilst the tenth seed Jordanian [Ahmad Abughaush] had become a favourite of the fans with his footwork and variety of kicks; thus the final was between two men of different contrasts. The Jordanian opened up a one point lead in round two after a scoreless opening round, but that one point was all that separated the two men at the end of the round. Abughaush built up a lead of 7-2 and then 10-2 in the third round by which time it looked over and despite a late flourish from the Russian, Jordan won their first ever Olympic medal in any sport, thanks to Abughaush’s 10-6 win.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Ahmad Abughaush 20 Jordan JOR Gold
2 Aleksey Denisenko 22 Russia RUS Silver
3T Joel González 26 Spain ESP Bronze
3T Lee Dae-Hun 24 South Korea KOR Bronze
5T Edgar Contreras 24 Venezuela VEN
5T Jaouad Achab 23 Belgium BEL
7T Servet Tazegül 27 Turkey TUR
7T Ghofran Ahmed 23 Egypt EGY
9T Pürevjavyn Temüüjin 22 Mongolia MGL
9T Karol Robak 18 Poland POL
11T Balla Dièye 35 Senegal SEN
11T Maxemillion Kassman 18 Papua New Guinea PNG
11T Patrick Boui 28 Central African Republic CAF
11T Filip Grgić 26 Croatia CRO
11T Saúl Gutiérrez 23 Mexico MEX
11T Ignacio Morales 20 Chile CHI