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More than sport: Taekwondo paves way for a different future

Summer Games 3 August 2023

Iran’s Nahid Kiyanichandeh claimed taekwondo gold with a solid performance on Thursday at the Chengdu FISU World University Games in the women’s under 53kg weight class.

“I’m really very happy about going step by step towards the Olympics, I want the gold medal,” said the 25-year -old athlete after showing her skills in speed and precision.

Nahid Kiyanichandeh (Iran)

Although she tied the first round against Chinese Taipei’s Su Po-ya, in the second round she hit her stride and scored a decisive 9-0 victory that gave her the win.

Spain’s Alma Maria Perez and China’s Guo Qing took bronze.

The passion of all the taekwondo athletes is felt in the atmosphere. For some of them it is a way of life, for others, it is a family tradition. But everybody agrees on one thing: it’s more than just a sport.

Taekwondo really changed the life of bronze medallist Guo.

“When I was a little girl, I just thought that taekwondo could take me out of the mountain areas, I come from a very humble family,” she started.

“I’m trying to broaden my horizon and have a bright future, it is not easy for me,” continued the 23-year old athlete.

“It’s like a second chance to me or another half of me. An opportunity to change my life. From the start, I had no idea of what taekwondo was, but later I learned it better as a sport and enjoyed it, and then it became my career. Now, I think it is an indispensable part of me.

SU Po-ya (Chinese Taipei)

“I have a big family, so my parents usually spend more time with my younger sisters and brothers. So, choosing to practice taekwondo and stick to it is a kind of my independent choice. When I grew up, I asked my father to watch my competitions. So, at present, he knows more about my sport,” said Guo with a big smile on her face.

“I have practiced this sport for quite a long time but it is only in recent years that I’ve done well. I always believe that practice makes perfect and only those who work hard can win in the end.”

Guo competed in the semifinal against gold medallist Kiyanichandeh.

“I feel satisfied but still have some regretful feelings. It’s hard to say because in my opinion, I could perform better. That’s why I think more work is needed.”

“But apart from that, I practice a lot at home, and to be honest, I’m very excited that I finished a wonderful spinning hook kick in the FISU Games.”

Other taekwondo champions crowned on Thursday included China’s Zhou Zeqi (women’s -73kg), Turkiye’s Hakan Recber (men’s -63kg) and China’s Meng Mingkuan (men’s -87kg).

Written by Julieta Boschiazzo, FISU Young Reporter