Eva Calvo Gomez broke British hearts as she earned Spain a second WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix title in Manchester tonight (Sunday).
And Russia also doubled up their final gold medal tally as Alexey Denisenko emulated compatriot Olga Ivanova (+67kg) by claiming the men’s -68kg crown.
But the last night of the inaugural Grand Prix belonged to 22-year-old Gomez, last year’s World University Games champion and current World Championship bronze medallist.
She was certainly second favourite against London 2012 Olympic champion, Jade Jones, in the eyes of a partisan home crowd.
However, Calvo Gomez held her nerve, especially as Jones made a late rally, to complete a 4-2 win and follow Brigide Enrique (-49kg) on to the top of the podium.
For Jones, there was frustration with her silver medal after an impressive return to form and recovery from back trouble.
She totalled 39 points in her four previous victories including a 15-2 win against GB team mate, Caroline Fisher, and a 4-3 success over Olympic final rival, Yuzhuo Hou in the penultimate round.
The consistent Chinese star had knocked out Korea’s -57kg world champion, So-He Kim in the quarter-finals.
“I really wanted to be the first British female to win a Grand Prix title,” said Welsh star Jones.
“But it’s been a difficult year because I have had a long term injury.
“I also put myself under too much pressure thinking I had to win every fight because I am Olympic champion.
“Now though I am in a much better place mentally. And the Olympic gold medal is still at the side of my bed even though I won silver tonight.”
Denisenko certainly didn’t start favourite for gold in the ultra competitive -68kg category but there was no denying his ultimate win as British challengers, Michael Harvey, Jordan Gayle and London 2012 competitor, Martin Stamper, suffered early heartache.
Denisenko, stepping up after winning -58kg Olympic bronze last year, defeated Canada’s 2009 world silver medallist, Maxime Potvin, 1-0 in the final. However, the 20-year-old’s finest moment came with an 8-5, quarter-final success against Korea’s twice world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Dae-Hoon Lee.
Iran’s Mohammad Motamed and Behnam Asbaghikhanghah were bronze medallists.
But taekwondo is a sport defined by small margins and Brits Harvey and Gayle wouldn’t disagree. Serbian Open champion Gayle forced Potvin into sudden death in the opening round only to miss out 10-9.
Fellow Mancunian Harvey lost his bout against Russian Vasilii Nikitin on a ‘superiority’ judges’ verdict. The fight finished 7-7 after three regulation rounds, there was no further scoring after two minutes extra time before Nikitin was awarded the fight. Liverpudlian Stamper lost 12-2 against Hun Kim of Korea.
-68kg final: Alexey Denisenko (Russia) bt Maxime Potvin (Canada) 1-0.
-57kg final: Eva Calvo Gomez (Spain) bt Jade Jones (Great Britain) 4-2.