A fearless taekwondo prodigy is captivating the world once again with her extraordinary skill and unyielding determination.
Amidst sky-high expectations as a defending champion, South Korea’s Kim Yujin radiated with brilliance on Monday at the Chengdu FISU World University Games, showcasing her unmatched prowess in the women’s under 57kg weight class.
Four years removed from her dazzling performance at Napoli 2019, Kim once again took center stage and was eager to defend her coveted title at the Wangjiang Campus Gymnasium of Sichuan University.
As the semi-finals unfolded, it was impossible not to experience a rush of familiarity. The 22-year-old student athlete secured 2-1 victory over Patrycja Adamkiewicz of Poland, reminiscent of their previous encounter in Napoli, also at the semi-final stage.
At the time, the Korean defeated her Polish rival 4-1 on her way to claiming the gold medal.
The echoes of their past battle added an intriguing layer of excitement to the moment, making it a thrilling déjà vu for taekwondo enthusiasts.
“The ultimate goal is to win an Olympic gold medal,” said the Korean National Sport University student about her future aspirations as a professional athlete.
Her true potential to achieve that goal was on display in the Chengdu final, as she defeated reigning Olympic bronze medalist Lo Chia-ling of Chinese Taipei.
“I tried not to overthink it too much and not to stress myself out. I told myself to take it easy,” Kim said, revealing the calm and collected mindset that led her to victory.
In the men’s under 68kg category, Kim’s compatriot, Lee Sangryeol, added another chapter to their country’s taekwondo success story by clinching gold.
With 14 medal events left over the next four days, South Korea has already amassed an impressive tally of eight medals, six of them gold.
Triumphs by Iran’s Mahdi Hajimousaeinafouti (men’s -54kg) and Rita Bakisheva of Kazakhstan (women’s -46kg) further solidified Asia’s dominance on the international stage.
Both Hajimousaeinafouti and Bakisheva secured their first gold medals at a FISU event, marking a significant milestone in their burgeoning careers. As they continue to rise and shine, the world eagerly anticipates witnessing their journey towards becoming potential defending champions in the near future.
Written by Andjela Cegar, FISU Young Reporter