Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The penultimate day of the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games was a spectacle to behold as fans were treated to thrilling performances in Kendo, Muaythai, Taekwondo, and Savate.
The Saudi Arabian Muaythai team made its presence felt, with nine contenders stepping into the ring and three advancing to the next rounds in their respective weight divisions. In the Savate arena, three champions were crowned on Day 10.
In Savate, the quarterfinal rounds for the remaining men’s and women’s Combat and Assaut categories came to an exciting conclusion, setting the stage for Day 11’s highly anticipated finals. On a neighbouring field of play, Taekwondo captivated spectators with the Mixed Pair Poomsae finals, while Kendo enthralled with its Mixed Individual Wheelchair finals.
The day culminated in the distribution of six gold medals, with Taekwondo adding one, Kendo two and Savate three. As the Games’ approach their conclusion, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia have emerged as frontrunners in the gold medal count, counting 21, 12, and 9 first-place finishes respectively. Ukraine has the highest number of podium finishes overall, with 49.
Sometimes referred to as the “way of the sword,’ Kendo is not just a physical combat sport but a spiritual journey of self-improvement. During individual competitions and demonstrations, kendōka showcase not only their prowess with the bamboo sword but also their personal growth, discipline, and dedication to this ancient martial art. The results reveal a tapestry of unique styles and techniques, reflecting the individual journey each athlete undertakes in their pursuit of mastery.
In the individual men’s category, Kenshiro Matsuzaki of Japan emerged victorious, narrowly beating compatriot Keita Hoshiko 1-0 for the gold medal. In the women’s individual category, Japan’s Maika Senoo secured a first-place finish with a 1-0 win against compatriot Moeko Takahashi.
Kendo’s Demonstration and Team Exhibitions will take centre stage on the closing day of the Games. Audiences will be treated to spellbinding performances in Masters Demonstrations, Kendo Kata, Jodo, and more.
The French martial art of Savate merges European boxing techniques with fluid kicks. Savate’s Assaut discipline emphasizes controlled, technical strikes, while the Combat division allows full-contact, power-driven blows. Savate’s third discipline, Canne de Combat, incorporates a wooden cane in a strategic, dance-like combat sequence.
Medhi Louis Laurent of France triumphed in the Men’s -60 kg Assaut final, securing a 5-0 win over Khalid Bouguarne of Morocco.
In the women’s division, France’s Nina Bergandi dominated the -52kg Assaut, securing a 5-0 win against Japan’s Mariko Hara.
The mixed individual Wheelchair Canne de Combat came to a conclusive end with Independent Neutral Athlete Sebastien Pilot beating South Korea’s Eunsuk Lee with a final score of 3-0. Bronze was awarded to Lindy Ursula Bhantooa of Mauritius.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art known for its dynamic kicks. Its Poomsae discipline encompasses choreographed defence-and-attack patterns, while Kyorugi involves full-contact sparring bouts. Both divisions showcase the sport’s depth and athleticism.
Yesterday, the mixed-pair Poomsae finals witnessed a stellar performance by South Korea which dominated the event. With a technical skill score of 5.460 and a presentation score of 3.560, Team Korea secured a grand total of 9.020.
Fans also witnessed the men’s and women’s individual Poomsae semifinal events and the Mixed Kyorugi Team semifinals. With the anticipation building, both individual and team competitors are poised for their championship clashes on Day 11.
Muaythai, often called the “Art of Eight Limbs,” is a revered Thai martial art encompassing punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes. Originating from ancient battlefield tactics, Muaythai has evolved into a globally recognized sport and form of self-defence.
On Day 10, the men’s and women’s Muaythai weight divisions delivered thrilling semifinal matches. The stage is now set for the climactic championship bouts on the 11th and final day of the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games.
About the World Combat Games:
The World Combat Games are an international multi-sport event featuring the best athletes in combat sports and martial arts. They were established to celebrate the athletes and values of these sports in one place, and to expose them to an international audience. The World Combat Games concept aims for a compact and manageable event that offers cities an opportunity for focused international promotion, engagement with local communities (in particular young people), and the advancement of public health and wellness agendas through inspiring initiatives encouraging participation in combat sports.
In total, over 1,500 athletes from 120+ countries are competing in 16 martial arts and combat sports at Riyadh 2023. For more information about these Games, head to the Riyadh 2023 official website.