Today was the start of the Medals fest at the IFMA World Championships with gold medals awarded in female and competitive male levels.
Medals in the male division went to 20 countries spread across Europe, Asia and the Americas. The bouts were closely contested with the athletes now very comfortable with the ring and the arena. And their supporters of course, with loud action going on all day.
Peru’s Ian Escuza claimed a gold against home favourite Belarus Ramon Dounar to the delight of the Pan-American supporters. Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Argentina and America all joined together to combat the wall of sound coming from the Belarus fans – and clearly it worked.
In Ring A the women took over for much of the programme. Some close battles ensued including at the World Games divisions of 51, 54 and 60kgs. Defending world champion at 51kgs Meriem El Moubarik came a shock cropped against Thailand’s Apsara Koren – meaning the Thai champion now joins The World Games roster.
At 54kgs Moroccan Ilham Bourkkadai went out against Russia’s Valeriya Drozdova, earning Russia a slot in the women’s contest.
But at 60kgs Israel’s Nili Block retained her title from 2016 in spite of a great fight put up by Anastasia Nepiandi, herself a former IFMA champion.
In the other bouts medals were claimed by Sweden, Turkey and Russia.
Tesime, the female Turkish coach knelt in front of her athlete in the ring just after the result was announced. She then pretended to polish Behiye Tacyizdi foot as a homage to her skillful kicking – to great cheers from the crowd.