South Korea’s Rio Olympics gold medallist Oh Hye-ri outclassed Sorn Seavmey 18-9 in the women’s -73 kg last 16 in the ongoing World Taekwondo Championships in the South Korean city of Muju yesterday.
Though Cambodia’s first ever Olympic qualifier and first winner of an Asian Games gold medal for the Kingdom in 70 years matched her illustrious rival in height at 6 feet, the 21-year-old Seavmey was no match to the 29-year-old South Korean when it came to an aggressive approach.
As Seavmey left the arena after the fight, a disappointed Cambodian camp was hoping for a second chance through a repechage slot if Oh were to keep winning. Repechage allows a participant who loses to an opponent to enter the competition for the bronze medal if the winner reaches the finals.
As such, if Oh does reach the finals, Seavmey would then take on her losing quarterfinalist. Oh’s losing semifinalist would then face the winner of Seavmey’s fight in the decider for the bronze.
In today’s semifinals, Oh is to meet Mexico’s Maria Espinoza, who defeated Seavmey’s sister Davin at the 2012 London Olympics, while the Netherlands’ Reshmie Oogink, who beat Seavmey at the 2016 Rio Games, takes on Serbia’s Milica Mandic. The final is set for the evening session.
Seavmey’s much-acclaimed South Korean opponent Oh was somewhat stretched in the opening round against Chen Yann-yeu of Taipei before winning 13-10, but against Seavmey the winner of last year’s German Open and Grand Prix in Baku was at her best.
The full-contact fighter won her first middleweight world championship two years ago after taking silver four years earlier.
But it was her gold winning performance in the women’s 67kg at the 2016 Rio Olympics that set her apart. She became the third South Korean to win an Olympic gold in that category after Lee Sun-hee in 2000 and Hwang Kyung-seon in 2008 and 2012,
Earlier in the day, Seavmey stayed boldly aggressive in her fight against Maisoun Farouk, beating the Egyptian by way of double disqualification 9-6 in the round of 32.
The taller and slightly heavier Seavmey picked up three points each in the three two-minute rounds as Maisoun Farouk often found herself passively defending.