Taiwan’s Chen Po-yen won bronze at the World Taekwondo Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday, beating top opponents in the men’s under-54kg division before falling to world No. 3 Omar Salim of Hungary.
Unlike past competitions when the total score over three 2-minute rounds was added up to determine the victor, this year’s world championships adopted a new best-of-three scoring system in which the first person to win two rounds was declared the winner.
Chen seemed to thrive in the new system.
Making his world championships debut in the lightest weight category for men, Chen opened with a 2-0 (13-0, 12-2) win over Thomas Mansell of Nicaragua in the round of 64, then upset world No. 8 Tom Pashcovsky of Israel 2-1 (3-2, 5-10, 12-1) and secured a 2-1 (5-3, 0-5, 14-7) win over world No. 42 Loay Ihmedan of Jordan in the round of 16.
In the quarter-finals he dispatched world No. 2 Josip Teskera in just two rounds (6-2, 13-8).
Chen’s run came to an end in the semi-finals when Salim beat him 2-1 (10-2, 6-7, 3-1).
The round Chen won against Salim was only one of two that the Hungarian lost in five bouts on his way to claiming the under-54kg gold medal.
Chen’s bronze is the second medal won by Taiwan at the event. Olympic medalist Lo Chia-ling grabbed silver in the women’s under-57kg division on Monday last week.
Taiwan only won a silver in 2017 and took home nothing in 2019.
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