By Laman Ismayilova
The 2016 WTF World Taekwondo Team Championships has solemnly ended at the Serhedci Olympic Sports Complex in Baku.
Defending champions China and Azerbaijan retained their titles in, respectively, the female and male divisions of the Championships, the WTF reported.
On the first day of the 2016 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, Charlie Maddock of Great Britain, Milad Beigi Harchegani of Azerbaijan, Hyeri Oh of Korea and Carlos Navarro of Mexico captured gold medals.
Silvers went to fighters from Korea, Egypt, Chinese Taipei and Korea. Bronzes were won by Russia, Russia Sweden and Korea.
Female MVP was Shuyin Zheng of Team China, while male MVP was Milad Beigi Harchegani of Team Azerbaijan.
In the male category, the Azerbaijani team fielded the tallest team in the competition - based around the awesome cadre of Olympic gold medal heavyweight Radik Isayev and the phenomenal Milad Beigi Harchegani.
In the preliminary round, Korea had to grab some points before the substitution rounds, when Beigi Harchegani and Isayev would be given full play. However, Round 1 proved even-handed, with the score ending 1-0 thanks to a kick from a relaxed-looking Beigi Harchegani.
The action heated up in Round 2 with a game Korean opponent whirling in against Isayev – and scoring from in-close on the Azerbaijani giant. Isayev was swiftly substituted; the board was 1-1. A head shot from national teakwood fighter took the board to 4-1, then Beigi Harchegani reappeared, exercising his front leg with dangerous-looking kicks.
Isayev came back on and landed, taking the score to go 5-1. The Koreans were looking increasing disadvantaged by the Azerbaijani fighters. The second ended 6-1.
In Round 3, the match could have gone either way, but the decimation of Team Korea began when Beigi Harchegani landed a round kick to the head: 9-1. Radik Isayev came back on and the board climbed to 16-3, then 16-4. Beigi Harchegani scored to the body 17-4 and dropped his man, then he was up to 18-4.
In the last 30 seconds, the score was 21-5. With a series of spinning back kicks, Korea tried to land a big technique, but Isayev came on to control the match to the end.
The final score was 21-5 to Azerbaijan. It had been a brave performance by Korea, but Azerbaijani squad looked unstoppable in this format.
In the female category, China took on Korea. The score ended 6-4 with victory for Team China - who hugged their coach in delight.
The medal ceremony ended five days of taekwondo action in Baku, also called the City of Winds.
January is a rest month for WTF athletes, so action will resume in February, as the sport’s elite fighters gear up for the top fixture of 2017, the World Championships in Muju, Korea, in June.