Home happiness at Mexico Para Taekwondo Open

Lopez and Romero claim debut Championship titles

female Para taekwondo fighter Claudia Romero turns her head to the side Claudia Romero is a two-time Pan Am taekwondo champion © • Claudia Romero

The home crowds were left delighted at the Mexico Para Taekwondo Open Championships after their teenage world champion Juan Diego Garcia Lopez and two-time Parapan American champion Claudia Romero claimed their first titles in Mexico City.

World No. 3 Lopez shut out Spain’s Gabriel Amado Garagarza 4-0 in the men’s up to 75kg K44 to continue his perfect start to the year. It was a continuation of his first world title in February.

His teammate and fellow No. 3-ranked fighter Romero also claimed gold at home with a convincing 17-6 win over the USA’s Sophie Gimeno in the women’s up to 49kg K44.

Roaring Russians

Russian fighters brought their A-game to the Mexican capital with three different fighters capturing a trio of golds.

Former world champion Zainutdin Ataev topped Aliskhab Ramazanov in an entertaining all-Russian men’s over 75kg K44 battle.

Teammates Ayshat Ramazanova (No. 2 in women’s up to 58kg K44) and Askhat Akmatov (No. 7 in men’s up to 61kg K44) also won their respective finals, with the latter topping Italy’s Antonino Bossolo 27-21 in a tough gold medal bout.

Champions in form

Brazil’s new world champion Debora Menezes showed why she is the fighter to beat in the Americas after winning her second tournament this year, edging France’s Laura Schiel in the women’s over 58kg K44 final.

World No. 1 Bopha Kong continued his winning ways, but he needed to work to get by Israel’s Asaf Yasur 24-22 in the men’s up to 61kg K43 final. The victory marked Kong’s ninth straight tournament win, while the silver is Yasur’s first international medal in only his second tournament.

Next up is the Pan American Open on 16 June in Portland, USA.