Jordan’s Saleh Elsharabaty settles for taekwondo silver at Tokyo Games

Maksim Khramtcov of ROC Team clinches gold after dominating final on Monday

Jordan’s Saleh Elsharabaty finished second best in the final of the men’s -80kg taekwondo category against favourite and world number one Maksim Khramtcov, who claimed the Russian Olympic Committee's first Olympic gold medal in the sport.

Elsharabaty couldn’t quite replicate the heroics of Rio 2016 gold medalist and compatriot Ahmad Abu-Ghaush. However the 22-year-old from Amman can be satisfied with his impressive campaign, claiming Jordan’s first Olympic silver and the nation’s second ever medal.

The 2021 Asian Championship winner had to overcome some tough opponents on the way to the final, including an intense semi-final encounter against Uzbekistan’s Nikita Rafalovich that had to be decided in a golden points round.

In the final, Elsharabaty ran out of steam as the Russian took an early lead and dominated throughout at the Makuhare Messe in Tokyo.

In the opening rounds, both fighters were tentative. Khramtcov landed two kicks to apply early pressure. By the end of the second round, the Jordanian picked up just one point as a result of a penalty point, making the score 7-1.

There was a moment of hope at the beginning of the third round when the Jordanian opened with a turning kick to the head, claiming five points to reduce the deficit to one. However, Khramtcov responded with aggression and style, picking up multiple points with a series of kicks to the body and head, overwhelming Elsharabaty with a final score of 20-9.

Aside from that one spinning kick, the Russian’s defence had been impenetrable throughout the day, having conceded just seven points from all three fights before the final.

It was the Khramtcov’s 16th gold medal in major competitions, but his first Olympic title. Monday proved to be a memorable day for the ROC, as Khramtcov added to the golds that were won by the men’s team in artistic gymnastics as well as the gold Sofia Pozdniakova picked up in the women's sabre individual fencing final against Sofya Velikaya.

In the same competition, Egypt’s Seiff Eissa took home the bronze medal. The 23-year-old African Championship winner triumphed convincingly against Norwegian Richard Andre Ordemann with a final score of 12-4.

Earlier, Hedaya Wahba secured Egypt their first medal by defeating Paige McPherson of Team USA in the women's taekwondo bronze match. Malak prevailed 17-6 in the 67kg contest.

Wahba claimed her second Olympic medal, having previously claimed a bronze in the 57 kg category at Rio 2016.

Wahba, 28, beat Magda Wiet Henin of France 11-10 in the round of 16 and lost to Great Britain’s Lauren Williams in the quarter-final. She won her repechage contest against Malia Paseka 19-0 to earn a shot at bronze.

Malak is Egypt's highest profile athlete at the Tokyo Olympics and entered the tournament having overcome an ankle injury scare. She was among Egypt's three medallists at the Rio Games.

Updated: July 26th 2021, 4:21 PM
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