Yildirim strikes first for Turkey in Baku

16 May 2017
(From L) Indonesia's Dhean Fajrin (silver), Turkey's Rukiye Yildirim (gold), Tunisia's Fadia FErhani (bronze) and Iran's Fatemeh Madahi attend the medal ceremony of the women's -46kg taekwondo event during the Baku 2017.
Turkey's Ruk Yildirim (gold) attends the medal ceremony of the women's -46kg taekwondo event during the Baku 2017.

Turkey made a golden start to the Islamic Solidarity Games taekwondo program on Tuesday through finweight Rukiye Yildirim, although they fell short of an early double triumph as Iran's Nahid Kiyanichandeh took -53kg gold.

In the women's under-46 kg final at the Baku Sports Hall, 2011 world championship bronze medallist Yildirim claimed the first taekwondo gold medal for Turkey thanks to a late show against youngster Dhean Fajrin.

Kiyanichandeh edged a tense -53kg final to prevent fellow teenager Zeliha Agris from making it two out of two for Turkey.

Indonesia's Fajrin struck the first blow just a few seconds into taekwondo's maiden final of the Games, but Yildirim hit back to level after a cagey first round.

The two fighters continued to be content with probing efforts, before the 18-year-old Fajrin delivered a kick to the head of her opponent to open up a significant five-point advantage going into the last two minutes.

Former European champion Yildirim had to draw on all of her experience, and she did just that with a rapid four points.

A kick to the hogus put her ahead, but in a dramatic last 20 seconds she was caught napping by Fajrin to fall behind.

The 26-year-old Yildirim, who had edged out Iranian Fatemeh Madahi 6-5 in the semi-finals, produced a flurry of point-scoring efforts though as she spun like a whirligig to collect five points at the death and snatch a thrilling 19-17 win.

Agris edged another nervy first round in the -53kg final, as neither woman could land a head kick.

With 'Under Pressure' playing over the speaker system, both athletes could feel the tension, and Kiyanichandeh, 18, crept ahead after two video reviews.

In a gripping climax, the only point Agris could score was from a penalty as Kiyanichandeh clinched Iran's ninth gold medal of the Games in all with an 8-5 victory.

There will be three more gold medals awarded later on Tuesday, with the first men's finals.

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