Olympics-Taekwondo-Jordan’s silver medallist happy for Russian friend’s gold

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Taekwondo - Men's Welterweight 68-80kg - Medal Ceremony
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Taekwondo – Men’s Welterweight 68-80kg – Medal Ceremony – Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, Japan – July 26, 2021. Silver Medallist Saleh Elsharabaty of Jordan wearing a kaffiyeh celebrates REUTERS/Murad Sezer

July 26, 2021

By Chang-Ran Kim

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – Jordanian taekwondo silver medallist Saleh Elsharabaty said he was happy for Russian Maksim Khramtcov’s victory in their 80kg final match-up on Monday, calling his opponent a “brother” who deserved the prize.

“He is so strong,” the 22-year-old said. “I’ve trained with him a lot in Jordan; we are like brothers.

“I am really happy for him and I am happy with the silver this time. In (the Paris Games in 2024) I want the gold,” he said.

Elsharabaty’s Olympic medal was only the second for his country after Ahmad Abughaush’s gold in Rio, also in the Korean combat sport.

Khramtcov comfortably won the match 20-9 for the Russian Olympic Committee team.

As soon as the final buzzer sounded, the pair broke into a relaxed smile and held each other in a tight embrace. After the requisite post-match fist-bump with the opposing teams’ coaches, they returned to the mat to hug for a second time.

Top-ranked Khramtcov later said he looked into Elsharabaty’s eyes moments before the match ended, concluded that his friend was tired and thought to himself “a silver was okay for him.”

It was an especially emotional win for Khramtcov, whose mother died six months ago.

“I never thought of giving up,” he said when asked how he coped with the loss.

“My mother wanted to see a gold medal in my hands so I had to come to get it. Now I have it round my neck for her.”

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, editing by Ken Ferris)