Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Taekwondo coach Maddah unhappy with unfair treatment in Asian championships

July 2, 2022 - 15:12

TEHRAN - Iran women's taekwondo national team head coach Minoo Maddah hailed her team's performance in the 2022 Asian Taekwondo Championships but expressed displeasure over not receiving the Best Coach Award.

Iranian women won six medals in total to grab the first-ever title at the Asian Taekwondo Championships held in the South Korean city of Chuncheon last week.

“I congratulate the Iranian nation on this great success. We are delighted that could make our compatriots happy,” Maddah said in her interview with Tehran Times.

Maddah hit back at some critics who have undermined the level of the competition.

“The Asian Taekwondo Championships was held in the country that is considered as the birthplace of taekwondo, so definitely the level of the competition was so high. South Korea, China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and other teams brought their best players and tried their best. I really wonder how some people in our country want to undermine the level of competition and make it look like a low-quality tournament,” she said.  

“Fortunately, thanks to the internet and social networks because there is nothing to hide in this regard, and everything becomes clear by a quick search on the Internet,” said the head coach of the Iran national team.

Nahid Kiani (-53kg), Akram Khodabandeh (+73kg), and Zahra Pour-Esmaeil (-73kg) won the gold medals in their respective weight classes to take the country’s gold count to three – one more than Iranian women had managed throughout the past 24 editions.

Maddah’s team also collected a couple of silvers through Mobina Nematzadeh (-49kg) and Nastaran Valizadeh (-62kg), along with Zahra Sheidaei’s -57kg bronze.

“All of our athletes did their best in the tournament. Valizadeh lost her gold due to inexperience. It was her first international competition, but I still believe she could have won the gold, and she lost in the last moments of the match just by her own mistake. The rest of our athletes were at their best, although they can still be better in the future tournaments,” she added.

The Iranian Women’s team concluded the event with 500 points for their 1st title. China finished second with 379 points, 32 points clear of the hosts South Korea.

Surprisingly, Maddah did not win the tournament’s Best Coach Award, and it was awarded to Bijan Moghanloo, the head coach of Iran's men's taekwondo national team, while in the men’s event, Team Iran finished 5th, with three silver medals and one bronze!

“Honestly, I was both shocked and sad,” Maddah said unhappily and continued: “For the first time in the history of Iranian taekwondo, we were able to win the Asian title and achieve an important success. I expected to get the best coach award but it didn't happen, and I don't know why,” Maddah implicitly said that she was thinking of ending her cooperation with the women’s taekwondo national team.

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