Park Woo-hyuk (23, Samsung SDI) won gold in men’s taekwondo at the Hangzhou Asian Games in his first competition. He overcame his toughest semifinal in dramatic fashion and breezed through the final to claim his first Asian Games podium. Woo Hyuk Park’s gold medal was the fourth straight for taekwondo’s reigning champions, South Korea.
Park defeated world number one Salih Elsharabati (Jordan) in the men’s 80kg final with a round robin score of 2-0 (8-5, 6-5) on Sunday at the Lin’an Sports and Cultural Exhibition Center in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Elsharabati, a silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, was ranked as the No. 1 favorite to win the weight class prior to the tournament, but he was repeatedly pinned down by Park Woo-hyuk.
Park took the first round 8-5. In the second round, he landed a series of body (trunk) attacks. He took a point deduction and took a 5-0 lead, but with 43 seconds left in the round, he allowed a head attack and took a point deduction, making it 4-5 and down by one point. However, with seven seconds left in the period, he scored a head attack to take the first round. The point was awarded on video review. In the second round, Park took the lead. First, he landed a body attack, and then scored two takedowns to take a 4-0 lead. Elsharabati’s attack was fierce. He attacked the head and body, forcing Park to give up a point. With 36 seconds left, the score was 4-5. Park fought back aggressively and forced his opponent to take two more points to take the second round 6-5. After becoming the top player in Asia, Park expressed his joy by doing a little hip dance. In a post-match interview, he said, “This is one of the happiest days of my life. My coach was confident in my abilities, and I believed I could win this competition. My confidence helped me win the gold medal. I will do my best to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.”
Park’s biggest challenge came in the quarterfinals against Mehran Barghourdari (IRAN). He won the round robin 2-1 (6-3 8-11 10-10) to reach the final.
He took the first round, dropped the second, and then tied the third in dramatic fashion. Down 4-8 with eight seconds left in the round, he scored four points with a spinning back kick and a body kick to tie the match. They then traded two points for a point deduction to tie the round at 10-10. As in the third round, in the event of a tie, big moves like spins and head and body attack attempts are counted to determine the winner. Park went on to defeat India’s Shivanshi Thiyaji 2-0 (15-6 15-1) in the round of 16 and Thailand’s Jack Woody Mercer 2-0 (12-6 13-7) in the quarterfinals. 스포츠토토
The person Park Woo-hyuk most admires is soccer star Son Heung-min (31-Tottenham). He looks to him for inspiration. He cites EPL Tottenham captain Son Heung-min as the mentor or person who has helped him the most in his career. When asked how he would like to be remembered in the future, Park said, “I don’t want to be remembered as a player who rose once, crashed and burned, but as a player who was steady and sincere for a long time.” He first started practicing taekwondo around the age of seven. As a child, Park was a mischievous kid. His parents sent him to a taekwondo school in hopes that he would grow up to be serious. Sixteen years later, the kid in the taekwondo uniform has grown into an Asian hero. Park’s pre-fight routine includes a trip to the bathroom to lighten up, and he boosts his confidence with a self-mantra: “I’m the best.” He earned his first taekwondo black belt at the age of 20. He finished third at the 2019 World Championships and first at the 2022 World Championships, making him a world-class player. He is currently ranked 10th in the world. He considers it his most memorable moment since starting his career. Park Woo-hyuk relieves his training stress by traveling and shopping alone.
On the 24th, Kang Wan-jin (Hongcheon Cheonan Office) and Cha Ye-eun (Kyung Hee University) won gold medals in the Poomsae event, followed by Jang Joon (Korea Gas Corporation – Men’s 58kg) and Park Hye-jin (Goyang City Hall – Women’s 53kg). They were followed by Park Woo-hyuk.