Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Day 9 of the World Combat Games offered up an international smorgasbord of action, with the historically Thai, French, and Korean sports of Muaythai, Savate and Taekwondo making their Riyadh 2023 debuts at the King Saud University Arena.
The world’s best Armwrestlers were also on hand to conclude a gripping two-day showcase of the sport at these Games.
Muaythai superstars of all abilities arrived in Riyadh spoiling for a fight at the world’s largest martial arts and combat sports gathering.
While much of the action on the first day featured preliminaries ahead of the final two days of competition, medals were awarded in men’s and women’s Wai Kru. Ka Chun Mok of Hong Kong, China took the men’s crown over Mohit Verma of India, while Malaysia’s Jia Chi Yan narrowly overcame Islay Erika Bomogao of the Philippines in the women’s division.
The day’s action concluded with an entertaining Mixed Mai Muay final that saw gold go to Alyssa Kylie Mallari and Rhichein Yosorez of the Philippines, while silver went to their countrymates Ariel Lee Lampacan and Phillip Delarmino.
The traditional French combat sport of Savate is also on show in Riyadh for three days.
The first Savate athlete to strike gold at these Games was Germany’s Nicole Holzmann, who ran out a 3-0 winner over Eunjung Kim of the Republic of Korea in the final of the women’s Canne De Combat. On the men’s side, Independent Neutral Athlete Thomas Richard Dardour walked away victorious over Czechia’s Michal Vrastil.
Finals in the Wheelchair Canne de Combat and men’s and women’s Assuat are scheduled to take place tomorrow, with athletes in other disciplines continuing their march towards their respective finals on 30 October.
The Olympic sport of Taekwondo got its three days of competition under way with Mixed Gender Team Kyorugi action. Teams from Australia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Türkiye, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia squared off in a round-robin format to see who would progress to the next round.
When the dust finally settled, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Türkiye emerged victorious, securing their spots in the highly anticipated semifinals scheduled for 30 October.
On the calendar tomorrow are the men’s and women’s Poomsae semifinals and the mixed pair Poomsae finals.
Armwrestling concluded its two days of competition at Riyadh 2023 with a final flourish of medals.
In the Men’s Right Arm Para Sitting final, Gokhan Seven of Türkiye rolled over Kazakhstan’s Nikita Yermakov to bag his second gold medal of these Games following a win a day earlier in the Left Arm Para Sitting category.
Alona Hornich of the Ukraine will also return home a two-time gold medallist after she added the Women’s Right Arm Para Standing title to the Left Arm title she claimed earlier. Hornich’s compatriots Olesia Bessalnova and Anna Sudnitsyna squared off in the final of the Women’s Right Arm Para Visual final, with Bessalnova taking the honours.
An extra round was required to separate the finalists in the Men’s Right Arm Para Standing category, with Nyshanaly Sanim of Kazakhstan outlasting Hungary’s Daniel Simon for the gold.
The showstopping Men’s and Women’s Right Arm clashes were up next. On the women’s side, it was a European sweep in the finals, with Türkiye’s Esra Kiraz winning the -55kg, Slovakia’s Rebeka Martinkovic taking the -65kg, Sweden’s Mona Ann-sofi Reisek owning the -80kg, and Slovakia’s Barbora Bajciova claiming the +80kg.
“I’m really happy because this is the first time for me and my sport to be at the World Combat Games,” said Martinkovic after collecting her gold medal. “It’s a historical moment for my sport, for me, for my country Slovakia. It’s amazing – it’s unbelievable how I feel.”
The men also put on a show. Disqualification of Türkiye’s Evren Serhat Arslan gifted gold to Armenia’s Vachagan Hovhannisyan in the -70kg final, while Daniel Procopciuc defeated Oleg Tudorean in an all-Moldovan -80kg final.
In the -90kg, Romania’s Viorel Marian Dobrin snatched victory from Bulgaria’s Nedalin Hristov in the final, and Kazakhstan’s Yesbolat Karzhau saw off Andrei Chipreanov of Romania in the -100kg final.
Croatia’s Rino Masic took top honours in the -110kg over Ukraine’s Oleksandr Ilnytskyi, while the battle of the +110kg heavyweights was won by Ukrainian Oleg Mykhailenko. Sweden’s Markus Moricke took silver.
The only new sport to join the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Armwrestling was a welcome addition to the line-up that captivated spectators both at the venue and watching along at home.
On the menu for Day 10 will be the start of the Kendo action in KSU 4 and the continuation of competition in Muaythai (KSU 2), Savate (KSU 5) and Taekwondo (KSU 1).
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.
Interested in watching the World Combat Games? Check out the full list of broadcasters in 100+ countries and territories here. The competition is also being live-streamed on the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games’ official website.