GOYANG, Korea – The World Cup remains in Iranian hands thanks to the country’s male squad securing victory at the Seoul 2023 World Cup Team Championships Series, held in the western Seoul suburb of Goyang.
The Iranians left the KINTEX 2 Exhibition Center, in the western Seoul suburb of Goyang, with not just the World Cup itself, but $20,000 in prize money.
The title match pitted Iran, 2019’s winning squad, against the tournament’s dark horse, Team Australia.
The Aussies are newcomers to this format’s elite level; few had predicted they would be fighting in the final. Yet, here they stood.
Action commenced with Iran starting out strong, hitting hard and being hard to hit – but Australia found its feet and bought the match back to near parity, losing Round 1 by just five points.
The second round proceeded along a similar trajectory, albeit with Iran suffering a series of gamjeons. But the Iranians showed their quality by winning it in the second – albeit, with just another five-point margin.
That left the Aussies hefting silver medals and taking home $10,000 in prize money after having establishing themselves as a new force to be reckoned with in this competition.
Third place – and $5,000 – went to Brazil, who won bronze in an absolute scorcher of a fight against China.
The two sides tied with one round each, taking it to the third. In the last three seconds of Round 3, Brazil came back from behind, winning the match 70-65 to the screams of Brazilians in the stands.
The wins and the prize money were hard earned.
Team combat has always been Taekwondo’s most rough-and-tumble fighting format – but even by that standard, today’s bouts were exceptionally fierce.
Earlier, in the first semi-final, Australia had ejected China, bronze medalist in the previous World Cup, after an ultra-tight 2-1 battle.
In the second semi, Iran took on the very aggressive Team Brazil. Brazil was game but Iran, showed their quality with a 2-0 wipeout.
In the morning quarter finals Australia had knocked out Mexico 2-0. China had defeated Côte d’Ivoire in a thriller of a bout that saw the winners bounce back from behind to grab a 2-1 victory in the final seconds of Round 3.
Iran had taken out Korea in a fast-and-furious 2-1 win that had the crowd on its feet. And in the last of the quarters, Brazil had dispatched Morocco 2-0 in a highly combative bout that had seen a game Moroccan squad lose a man to injury.
Male teams comprise three fighters, competing over three, three-minute rounds.
At the 2023 World Cup, female, male and mixed-gender teams are fighting over three days from Nov. 14-16. Australia, Brazil, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Iran, Korea, Mexico and Morocco are all fielding teams.
Tomorrow, on the championships’ last day, the mixed gender teams do battle.