Jordan’s Taekwondo star, Saleh Al-Sharabaty, has won a tremendous silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old showed stunning form to reach the final where he lost to reigning European and 2017 World Champion, Maksim Khramtsov, 23, of Russia.
Al-Sharabaty launched his campaign with a nail biting 5-4 victory over Norway’s Richard Ordermann, before winning a captivating quarter-final against Morocco’s African Champion, Achraf Mahboubi, 17-15.
The semi-final contest was a brilliant match, and the Jordanian beat Uzbekistan’s Nikiti Rafalovich, the world number six, in the golden round after their breathtaking fight ended 11-11 after the three scheduled rounds.
Khramtsov proved a step too far as the Russian clinched the gold medal with a 20-9 victory, but it was a remarkable day for Al-Sharabaty who becomes only the second Jordanian to win an Olympic medal, following fellow Taekwondo fighter Ahmed Abu Ghaush’s historic gold in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Al-Sharabaty’s coach in Tokyo is Faris Al Asaaf, who also masterminded Abu Ghaush’s Rio victory.
Earlier in the day, there was heartbreak in Taekwondo for Juliana Al-Sadeq who suffered the narrowest of defeats to Brazilian, Milena Titoneli.
The pair finished their enthralling -67kg contest tied at 9-9, but the 26-year-old lost on the ‘superiority’ rule.
Also on Monday, Younis Eyal Salman made his Olympic debut in the opening round of 32 in the Judo -73kg competition.
The 28-year-old faced Turkish ninth seed, Bilal Ciloglu, but lost to the former Junior World Champion following a tough match.
Jordan’s Tokyo participation continues on Tuesday, with the Ishaish brothers, Ziad and Hussein, both opening their campaigns in their respective weights.
Ziad, 22, is one of the favourites in the -69kg weight after winning the Asian/Pacific qualifiers to book his Tokyo spot, and he meets Merven Clair, 28, of Mauritius, who already won in the round of 32 on Saturday to reach the last 16.
Older brother Hussein, 25, reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Games, and will open his account in the -91kg weight against the experienced Julio Cesar Castillo, 33, of Ecuador.
Also on Tuesday, Amro Al Wir will be looking to break another national record in the pool, when he competes in the 200m breaststroke.
On Saturday, Al Wir broke his 100m breaststroke record so will be hopeful of repeating the achievement in the longer distance.