Iran reaffirmed their supremacy after sweeping all five weight categories on the opening day of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Cadet Championships in Muju County, South Korea.
Having won both the overall men’s and women’s titles at the inaugural edition of the Championships in Baku last year, Iran showed no signs of letting up on their way to winning a quintet of gold medals at the T1 Arena in North Jeolla Province.
In the women’s under 29 kilograms final, Fatemeh Ebrahimizadeh beat Russia's Anima Cherchesova for the gold medal with the bronzes going to France's Mallorie Dellenbach and Kazakhstan's Alima Kaidarova.
Mahla Momenzadeh defeated Thailand's Chutikan Jongkolrattanawattana to earn gold for Iran in the women’s under 33kg final, while Great Britain's Jordyn Smith and United States' Ash Ogan shared third place.
The other women’s gold medal came in the under 51kg category as Mobina Shakeri outpointed Russia's Polina Arzhevitina, who was followed onto the podium by home favourite Ji-yeong Seo and Germany's Stefanie Grunauer.
On the men’s side, Mohammad Khani overcame Russia's Stanislav Melnik 18-11 in the under 65kg final as Kazakhstan's Dulat Sikhymov and Mexico's Luis Manuel Flores Avendano had to settle for bronze medals.
As for the over 65kg class, Nima Mehrali needed a fourth golden-point round to secure top honours at the expense of South Korea’s Min-hyeok Kim, while the bronzes went to Belarus' Dzmitry Malinouski and Uzbekistan's Islomjon Adkhamov.
The Championships' Opening Ceremony took place prior to the semi-finals and was attended by WTF President Chungwon Choue, who presented Booyoung Scholarship Awards to representatives of Nepal, Palestine and Vietnam.
"Under the slogan of 'Vibrant Taekwondo, Dream Tree Taekwondo,' the second WTF World Cadet Taekwondo Championships will be a festival which celebrates the very best of our sport," said Choue during a speech.
"Under the policy of 'One Taekwondo,' taekwondo has become a lovely sport practiced worldwide regardless of age, gender and physical conditions.
"The creation of cadet championships last year was to provide an opportunity to younger athletes not only to compete in world level but also to exchange friendship [between] one another through understanding and respect, and gain priceless experiences learning culture and history of the hosting country.
"One day, these young athletes will become genuine assets of the WTF in senior level as well.
"The WTF will try its utmost to ensure their dreams come true."
Choue was joined at the Opening Ceremony by Zimbabwe's Thomas Sithole, secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, as well as Song Ha-jin, Governor of the North Jeolla Province and chairman of the Championships’ Organising Committee.
Also in attendance was Kim Tae-hwan, President of the Korea Taekwondo Association, and Kim Chong, Vice-Minister of the Korean Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The action in Muju County is due to last until Wednesday (August 26).