It was a historic day in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia as Para Taekwondo made its Grand Prix Finals debut – and the
athletes responded with history-making performances.
Iran set a Para Grand Prix Series record by winning four gold
medals at the 2022 Grand Prix Finals.
Iran marked its return to the Para Grand Prix Series in style
with a dominant showing that included five medals, including four gold, in the
World champion Hamed Haghshenas led the way for Iran, again
beating Croatia’s Ivan Mikulic in a rematch of last year’s world championship
“I think silver is my colour”, Mikulic told World Taekwondo
after receiving his Para Grand Prix Finals silver medal. Mikulic also won
silver at Tokyo 2020, the 2021 World Championships, and both Para Grands Prix
he competed in this year. “But it will be a different story at Paris 2024”.
Alireza Bakht picked up where he left off by winning the -80
kg gold. He also won gold at his last event – the first Para Grand Prix in
Saeid Sadeghianpour and Maryam Deroei won gold in -63 kg and
47 kg, respectively, while Roza Ebrahimi added a bronze in -57 kg to put the
world on notice that Iran plans to pick up multiple medals at Paris 2024 to add
to the gold and silver won by Asghar Azizi Aqdam and Mehdi Pourrahnama at the
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Sadeghianpour savoured his victory, waxing stoic after a
disappointing bronze at the Asian championships earlier this year.
“Sometimes it is necessary to embrace
the storms of our lives”, he said about rebounding from the Asian championships
loss to win gold in Riyadh, “Nothing grows without rain. May this always remain
as a memory”.
SOURCE: World Taekwondo Website