(Las Vegas, NV) – The senior divisions at the US Open Taekwondo championships featured an amazing level of competition. There were dozens of Olympians present as well as those trying to leave their mark on the sport of Taekwondo. Colorado had several athletes take part, and although none walked away with a medal, several sparred well and were able to get deep bracket penetration.
The largest division in the tournament was the men’s bantamweight. There were 95 competitors registered for this event. In a stroke of bad luck, Khusrav Giyosov (KAT- TJK) and Ahmed Alsubaihawi (KAT – IRQ) met in the first round. Master Bill Pottle remarked: “Seriously? Find me something in Vegas that has 94 to 1 odds and I will go bet on it.” Giyosov won the match and then in the next round he lost to a great competitor from Mexico. That competitor went all the way through the brackets and ended up getting bronze.
In the men’s welterweight division SirGregory Salonis (KAT – USA) faced against Mexico in the first round. They had a thrilling match that ended in a 10-10 tie. In overtime Salonis got the golden point to move on to the next round against Lenn Hypolite from Trinidad and Tobago. Hypolite won and defeated several other players to end the day with a silver medal. Farkhod Negmatov (KAT – TJK) won his first match against USA easily, and then fell against 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist and world #1 Aaron Cook (Isle of Man).
In the Men’s Heavyweight division, Alisher Gulov (KAT – TJK) defeated USA in his first match and defeated USA National Team Member Phillip Yoon in his second match. In the quarterfinals he faced Anthony Obame, the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist from Gabon. Gulov dominated the entire match and was leading throughout when he was disqualified with 1 minute left in the third round. The final penalty was a gam jeong for “Intentional Attack After Kayleo”. However, the referee was doubly wrong. First, she called Kayleo in the middle of an exchange, second, the attack was at the same time as Kayleo, and certainly not intentionally after. His kick is already in the air when she started to call Kayleo. It was a very unfortunate error. After the match Obame went on to win Gold.
In other action, Heather Gibson (Rock – USA) was leading Costa Rica throughout but lost a close match in the waning seconds. Something similar happened to Cameron Webster (JWK/Littleton – USA) who was winning but then lost his match in overtime.
All in all it was a great experience and showed that Colorado Taekwondo is at a level where they can go neck and neck with the world’s best!
You can see all the brackets on the official results page.