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Iran lifts world university taekwondo trophy

Tehran, May 21, IRNA-Iran was crowned at the men's event of the 9th World University Taekwondo Championship in the port city of Valencia, east of Spain, Saturday night.

This is the first time a team other than South Korea lifts the trophy.

The powerful Iranian side snatched three golds, three silvers, and one bronze.

South Korea finished runner-up and the third title went to Thailand.

On the opening day, Wednesday, Behzad Khodadad took the first gold for Iran.

Khodadad overcame his rivals from Benin, Thailand, South Korea, and China in the +54 kg competitions.

He took the first step firmly, thrashing Benin's representative 5-0.

The Iranian, in his second clash, cleared his Thai opponent 3-1 and disposed of South Korea's player 5-1.

Khodadad celebrated the title with a victory over the Chinese finalist Shu Chun-yang.

Iran also took a bronze medal in the day when Hamed Khamseh ranked third in the +78 kg class.

Khamseh demolished a Russian player 7-1 in their opening match and defeated his Dutch rival in the second round.

He bagged bronze as he was beaten by the Italian semifinalist.

On Thursday, Alireza Nasr-Azadani brought the country the fourth weight gold and his teammate Hamid Sar-Abadani snatched the silver in the fifth weight.

On his way to the final showdown, Nasr-Azadani edged past his Italian, Kazakh, and Turkish rivals 2-1, 4-0, and 5-2 respectively.

He grabbed the glittering gold in the extra time of a hard-fought final against South Korea's representative.

Sar-Abadani whitewashed a Colombian opponent 4-0 before his victories over players from Russia and the host country Spain, finishing runner-up after conceding a 8-5 loss to his powerful rival from South Korea.

Mehdi Bibak handed the country the third gold medal as he stood top in the sixth weight category and Mohammad Baqeri-Mo'tamed added a silver to its asset, finishing runner-up in the third weight class.

Bibak overcame his opponents from Croatia, Turkey, South Korea, and the United States.

Baqeri-Mo'tamed firstly edged past his rival from Serbia & Montenegro and managed to beat Italy's representative 3-2 despite his leg injury.

The Iranian also got the better of the Taiwanese competitor and thrashed a South Korean rival 6-2, but he conceded a loss to the Thai finalist.

Iran's eighth weight player Hadi Afshar poured cold water on South Korea when he booked a berth in the semifinal Saturday night as Iran was one medal away from the title.

He overcame his rival from Spain 3-1, but was defeated by the South Korean finalist 5-3, winning the silver.

Fifty-six countries pitted 411 taekwondo players at the prestigious university event.

Iran finished runner-up in the previous edition that was held in Greece in 2004.

... Payvand News - 5/21/06 ... --

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