SPORTS


Kickboxer turned taekwondoka Maddock wins gold

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Baku, June 17, AZERTAC

Great Britain's Charlie Maddock was a kickboxer until recently, so she did not expect to become a gold medal winner in her new sport of Taekwondo so soon.

Nevertheless, she walked away with the gleaming gold after winning the women's -49kg competition at Crystal Hall on Tuesday.

And in the men's -58kg, Portugal's Rui Braganca overcame a painful knee to win the title in his category.

Taekwondo youngsters kicked their way into the finals on the first day of the competition. Unheralded Maddock, 19, faced 17-year-old world bronze medallist Tijana Bogdanovic of Serbia as both were surprise finalists.

The Briton took the lead in the first round 4-1 and led 8-5 at the end of the second. However, Bogdanovic once again was the comeback kid and caught up to make it 9-9 in the third round. Maddock then sealed her victory in the golden point additional round with a fist punch.

"Two years ago, I never thought I'd be doing Taekwondo, never mind be in this position," Maddock said. "I put in a lot of hard work and it's my first serious year in Taekwondo. It has all paid off."

Croatia's Lucija Zaninovic, the 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist, recovered from her defeat in the quarter-final to take the bronze medal. Patimat Akabarova of Azerbaijan claimed the other bronze with a solid 13-0 victory over Italy's Erica Nicoli.

Braganca also had to deal with a youngster in 17-year-old Jesus Tortosa Cabrera of Spain.

The match started slowly, but then picked up in the second round which the 23-year-old Portuguese won 5-2 despite suffering from a painful left knee. Tortosa Cabrera came back in the last round, but in the end the more experienced Braganca prevailed 6-5.

"My knee hurts a lot right now," Braganca said. "It really hurt, when it happened, but you just forget about it when the adrenaline is pumping. It hurt so much I just wanted to finish the match. I am afraid it is a bad injury. It could be the mensiscus."

Mohamed Si Ketbi of Belgium, the 2015 world silver medallist, defeated Azerbaijani Mahammad Mammadov by golden point in an exciting match to win bronze. Top seed Levent Tuncat of Germany claimed the other bronze medal.

Olympic silver medallist Brigida Yague of Spain faltered in the first round and blamed a slippery court for her sub-par performance, while 2015 world silver medallist Iryna Romoldanova of Ukraine also went home empty-handed.

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