15 - 19 MAY 2019

MANCHESTER ARENA

Cuban Alba rounds-off World Championships with heavyweight gold win

Cuba’s Rafael Alba became the 16th and final gold medallist of the 2019 World Championships with victory in the heavyweight division at Manchester Arena.

It was a good last night for China too as they claimed two of the seven titles up for grabs.

In contrast, it was an evening of silver linings for Brazilian athletes who reached two finals but lost both.

Alba defeated Mexico’s Carlos Sansores 9-5 in the +87kg final, six years after winning the -87kg crown.

Shuai Zhao is one of the planet’s most dominant fighters and he showed it once more in the -63kg final against Soroush Ahmadi.

The Iranian player had won the President’s Cup at Kiah Island and Fajr Open in 2019 but he was no match for his angular, 23-year-old Chinese rival.

The defending champion and Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist was rarely troubled as he stormed to a 27-7 win.

Twenty-four hours after compatriot Panipak Wattanakit claimed the -49kg crown, Phannapa Harnsujin added Thailand’s second gold of the championships.

Russian Tatiana Kudashova, who knocked out 16-year-old Britain, Aaliyah Powell in the semi-final, was a silver medallist in 2017. And she had to settle for second again as Harnsujin claimed a 20-10 success.

Next up was the -80kg final and once again gold went to the pre event favourite, Milad Beigi Harchegani of Azerbaijan.

Retaining the title he won in Muju, Harchegani used his physical presence to maximum advantage taking out Greece’s Apostolos Telikostoglou 22-12.

China added their second gold of the night when Mengyu Zhang ensured there was no successful defence of her -67kg title for Turkey’s Nur Tatar.

It was the closest final of the night to that point with the 20-year-old coming through 18-9.

Russian Vladislav Larin is the new -87kg king of the world, defeating Icaro Miguel Martins Soares 19-9 to go one better than 2017.

Making a successful defence of retaining her -62kg title was Turkey’s Irem Yamen who beat another Brazilian, Caroline Santos.

That left Alba, still only 25, and Sansores to battle it out for heavyweight glory with the Cuban prevailing to succeed Niger’s Abdoul Razak Issoufou as champion.

The end of championships awards saw the most valuable Male and Female athlete prizes go to South Korea’s Jun Jang and Jade Jones of Great Britain.

Korea were top male and female teams ahead of China and Russia respectively.

Canada won the Fighting Spirit award and Brazil the Active Participation accolade

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