Iranian fighters take taekwondo plaudits

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ali Eshikevarian and Yalda Valinejad came out on top on the fourth day of the taekwondo competition at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Wednesday 10 October.

Picture by IOC/OIS

Eshikevarian topped the podium in the men’s -73kg category and Valinejad did likewise in the women’s -63kg to earn their country’s first medals of Buenos Aires 2018.

Eshikevarian kicked off his day to remember at the Youth Olympic Park’s Oceania Pavilion with a hard-fought 19-17 win over Qiu Hong Shen of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals. The Iranian then saw off Ecuador’s Darlyn Padilla by a more comfortable 29-5 scoreline to set up a final against Belgium’s Badr Achab. Forced to dig deep again, Eshikevarian closed out a thrilling 17-16 win to take the gold. 

The bronzes went to Padilla and Eyad Adel Mahmoud of Egypt. 

Valinejad enjoyed a more straightforward route to gold than her compatriot, beating Jordan’s Natali Lyad Adnan Hamaidi 12-2 in the quarters before having to work a little harder to dispose of semi-final opponent Leslie Xcaret Soltero Garcia of Mexico 26-22.

The 17-year-old Iranian fighter then got the better of Serbia’s Nadica Bozanic in the final, securing gold with a 23-17 win that she celebrated on the tatami by waving her country’s flag and soaking up the applause of the large crowd.

Soltero was joined on the bottom step of the podium by Italy’s Assunta Cennamo.