Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or for eighth time

Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Saudi lead gold medal count at Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games

RIYADH: The penultimate day of the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games was a spectacle to behold as fans were treated to thrilling performances in Kendo, Muay Thai, Taekwondo and Savate.

The Saudi Muay Thai team left an indelible mark with nine contenders stepping into the ring, three of which will continue in their respective weight divisions tomorrow.

In the Savate arena, three champions were crowned with gold medals today. Meanwhile, the quarterfinal rounds for the remaining men’s and women’s Savate Combat and Assaut categories concluded, setting the stage for tomorrow’s much-anticipated finals.

On a neighboring 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 we approach the Games’ grand finale, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia have emerged as front-runners in the gold medal count, boasting 21, 12, and nine medals, respectively. Notably, Ukraine has the highest number of podium finishes, boasting 49.
Savate

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 championship, securing a 5-0 win over Khalid Bouguarne from Morocco.

In the women’s division, France’s Nina Bergandi dominated the -52 kg Assaut category, 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 Korea’s Eunsuk Lee with a final score of 3-0. Bronze was awarded to Lindy Ursula Bhantooa of Mauritius.

Men’s and women’s individual Assaut and Combat will continue tomorrow with the conclusions of the remaining weight divisions. Moreover, the Mixed Team Canne de Combat will begin tomorrow at 12 p.m. and conclude with gold medal competitions at 3:25 p.m.
Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art known for its dynamic kicks. Its Poomsae discipline encompasses choreographed defense-and-attack patterns, while Kyorugi involves full-contact sparring bouts. Both divisions showcase the art’s depth and athleticism.

Today, the mixed pair Poomsae finals witnessed a stellar performance by Korea’s S. Park and K. Song, who dominated the event. With a technical skill score of 5.460 and a presentation score of 3.560, they secured an outstanding grand total of 9.020.

Fans also witnesses the men’s and women’s individual Poomsae semifinal events today. Concurrently, the Mixed Kyorugi Team made strides in their semifinal matches. With the anticipation building, both individual and team competitors are poised for their championship clashes tomorrow.
Muay Thai

Muay Thai, often called the “Art of Eight Limbs,” is a revered Thai martial art encompassing punches, kicks, and elbow and knee strikes. Originating from ancient battlefield tactics, Muay Thai has evolved into a globally recognized sport and form of self-defense.

Today, the men’s and women’s Muay Thai weight divisions delivered thrilling semifinal matches. The stage is now set for tomorrow’s climactic championships.
Kendo

Kendo, often called the “way of the sword,” is not just a physical combat sport, but also a spiritual art of self-improvement. During individual competitions and demonstrations, kendoka showcase not only their prowess with the bamboo sword, but also their personal growth, discipline and dedication to the 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 Kendo’s individual men’s category, Kenshiro Matsuzaki of Japan emerged victorious, narrowly beating his compatriot Keita Hoshiko with a final score of 1-0.

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 center stage on the closing day of the Games. Audiences can view mesmerizing performances spanning Masters’ Demonstrations, Kendo Kata, Korean Bonkuk Kumbub, Iaido and Jodo.