Turkey’s Rukiye Yildirim beat reigning champion Iryna Romoldanova of Ukraine on her way to claiming the women’s under-46 kilograms gold medal on the opening day of the European Taekwondo Championships at the Ak Bars sports hall in Kazan.
The world number eight, a bronze medallist in 2016, defeated Romoldanova to set up a final with The Netherlands' Dina Pouryounes, who she overcame 28-10
Romoldanova was one of the two bronze medallists along with Great Britain’s Jordyn Smith, who was making her senior debut at the European Championships.
Smith’s impressive display comes on the back of her winning under-44kg gold at last month’s World Junior Championships in Hammamet in Tunisia.
Today’s other female gold medallist was Croatia’s Kristina Tomić, who beat home favourite Natalia Antipenko of Russia 18-12 in the women’s under-49kg final.
Tomić, a 2017 world bronze medallist, had earlier defeated Olympic bronze medallist Patimat Abakarova of Azerbaijan in the semi-finals.
Abakarova had to settle for third place with France’s Yasmina Aziez, the other beaten semi-finalist.
In men’s competition, world number five Mikhail Artamonov secured home success by overcoming Spain’s Jesus Tortosa Cabrera in the under-58kg final.
World number four Tortosa Cabrera, the under 54kg silver medallist in 2016, was the highest-ranked athlete of all the contestants in the category.
Russia’s Valeriy Shimanov beat two-time defending champion Rui Braganca of Portugal en-route to claiming a bronze medal.
He was joined on the third step of the podium by Moldova’s Stepan Dimitrov.
The men’s under-54kg final saw Spain’s Adrian Vicente come from 5-0 down against Russia’s Magomed Gagiev to triumph 13-5.
The bronze medallists were Italy’s Vito Dell'Aquila, a 2017 world bronze medallist, and Turkey’s Deniz Dagdelen after they lost to Vicente and Gagiev in their respective semi-finals.
Action in Kazan is due to continue tomorrow when medals will be awarded in the men’s under-63kg and under-68kg categories, and the women’s under-53kg and under-57kg divisions.