Saei snatches Iran’s first Beijing Olympics gold

August 23, 2008

BEIJING -- Iranian taekwondo star Hadi Saei made history on Friday by winning Iran’s first gold medal in men’s 80 kilogram class at the Beijing Olympics.

Saei, who won the gold in a lower weight class in Athens Olympics, beat Mauro Sarmiento of Italy 6-4 at the USTB Gymnasium.
The Iranian moved ahead in the first round, but Sarmiento hit him squarely with a head kick to make the score 4-2.
Saei landed a kick in the second round to move within a point, then another to tie the score 4-4. Saei came out quickly in the third, scoring another point for the lead. He added on a sixth point to seal the victory, the Associated Press reported.
Saei had previously defeated Nepali Deepac Bista, Zhu Guo and Rashad Ahmadov in this class.
He has won the bronze and gold medals in the 68 kg class in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 respectively.
Saei has become the winningest Iranian Olympic athlete with two gold medals and one bronze.
Iranian Heavyweight lifter Hossein Rezazadeh has secured second place with two Olympic golds, and late wrestler Gholamreza Takhti had bagged one gold and two silver medals.
American Steven Lopez beat Rashad Ahmadov of Azerbaijan and won the bronze medal. The second bronze went to Zhu Guo of China, who defeated Briton Aaron Cook