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Choi Yeon-ho wins 4th world title in taekwondo

Oct 19,2009
Korea’s Choi Yeon-ho won his fourth world title yesterday at the World Taekwondo Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Kim becomes only the third taekwondo athlete to win four world titles or more. Steven Lopez of the U.S. won his fifth consecutive world title in Copenhagen, while retired athlete Jung Guk-hyeon reached four consecutive titles in the past.

After securing his first world title in 2001, Kim won the 2003 and 2007 events. His latest title did not come easy, as the 28-year-old had to cope with a broken bone in his hand. Despite suffering the injury in the semifinals against Meisam Bagheri of Iran, Kim managed to pull off a win over Haidari Mahmood of Afghanistan in the men’s 54-kilograms (119 pounds) division. It was a close match in the finals. Kim tied up the score at three points apiece after landing a spinning left kick. The two finalists could not settle the score in extra time, leaving the match in the hands of the judges.

“I will now have to focus on competing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou [in China] next year. I want to win my fifth world title and would also like to compete in the 2012 London Olympics,” Kim said after the match.

Park Hyo-ji also rose to the top yesterday, delivering the first gold medal for the female Korean squad. The 21-year-old defeated Zoraida Santiago of Puerto Rico in the 46-kilograms division. The finals came down to the wire. Park managed to earn her match winning point by landing a spinning right back kick with 48 seconds remaining in the match.

Korea has won three gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the World Championships, which end today Korea time.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]



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