2017-12-04 19:22
Lee Dae-hoon wins 3rd consecutive taekwondo Grand Prix Final
Korea’s Lee Dae-hoon poses with his gold medal after winning the men’s under-68kg category gold medal match at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Sunday. / Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Baek Byung-yeul

Korean taekwondo practitioner Lee Dae-hoon won an unprecedented third consecutive World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final title, Sunday.

At Palais de Sports de Treichville in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the 25-year-old Korean defeated Russia’s Alexey Denisenko 14-13 in the men’s under-68kg class gold medal match.

The Grand Prix Final featured 124 participants from 42 countries. They are the top 16 practitioners in the October rankings in four class categories for both men and women.

With the win, Lee became the first practitioner to complete the three-peat in the history of the Grand Prix Final, established in 2013. Lee won his previous Grand Prix Finals in Mexico City in 2015 and Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2016.

“I am so glad to win in the season-ending event,” Lee said after the win. “I didn’t pay attention to making a three-peat, but once I actually made it I found the pleasure is beyond anything I imagined.”

In the gold medal match, Lee gave up first blood to the Russian, but Lee took the score to 8-5 after exchanging high kicks. Denisenko, known for his wide range of high-flying kicks, kept chasing hard, but Lee managed to win the match 14-13. Yu-jen Huang of Taipei, capital of Taiwan, captured the bronze after defeating Jaouad Achab of Belgium.

Other Korean taekwondo practitioners had to settle for silver medals.

Rio Olympics gold medalist Oh Hye-ri claimed the silver as she lost to China’s Yunfei Guo 31-9 in the women’s under-67kg gold medal match.

In the men’s over-80kg class, In Kyo-don claimed the silver as he lost in the extra round to Russia’s Vladislav Larin. After having three scoreless rounds, In allowed a kick to his body in a golden point round to lose the match.

In the Grand Prix Final, Korea won two gold medals including Kim Tae-hun’s men’s win in the 58kg class and four silvers as Kim So-hui claimed the silver in the women’s 49kg class and Lee Da-bin won the silver in the women’s over-67kg class.