Tokyo 2021-Taekwondo: the Tunisian Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi silver medalist

First medal for the African continent in these Olympic Games of Tokyo. The taekwondoist Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi lost narrowly in the final of the under 58 kilos Saturday against the Italian Vito Dell’Aquila. He is a silver medalist, which had not happened to a Tunisian athlete at the Olympics for almost 50 years. Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi enters the history. At just 19 years old, the Tunisian is the Olympic vice-champion. Gold medal at the 2019 All-African Games in the under 54 kilos, then at the African Championships in early June in Senegal in under 58 kilos, the taekwondoist now has an Olympic medal. He won his first three fights before narrowly losing in the final.

The only Tunisian representative in taekwondo in these Olympic Games in Tokyo began with a victory 25-18 against the Russian Mikhail Artamonov (under neutral banner). He was then imperial in the quarterfinals against the Ethiopian Solomon Demse (32-9). In the semifinals, Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi made a great performance by beating the South Korean, world number one and defending world champion Jang Jun (25-19).

In the final, the Tunisian found himself facing the world number two, the Italian Vito Dell’Aquila. This fight for gold was long to his advantage. By touching his opponent quickly to the body and head, Jendoubi took the lead in the first round. The Italian reacted afterwards but still remained behind in the score. It was in the final seconds of the third round that the Tunisian broke down, landing several punches to the body. Dell’Aquila thus took the advantage and won with a short lead (16-12).

Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi did not hide his disappointment at the end of his fight, but his result remains exceptional. He is the first African athlete to win a medal at these Games. It also brings to Tunisia its 14th Olympic medal in its history: 4 gold, 3 silver now, and 7 bronze. The last silver medal of Tunisia in the Olympics goes back to the one won by the athlete Mohammed Gammoudi on 5 000m during the 1972 edition.