Taekwondo fighter Lee Hwa-jun won a silver medal after finishing second in the men's 80-kilogram division sparring competition at the 18th Asian Games on Wednesday.
Lee lost to Nikita Rafalovich of Uzbekistan 21-18 in the final at Jakarta Convention Center Plenary Hall in Jakarta to grab his first Asiad medal. It was South Korea's fourth silver medal in taekwondo "kyorugi" (sparring) at Jakarta-Palembang 2018.
Against Rafalovich, Lee trailed 8-2 in the first set. He cut the deficit to one in the second round, however, after he landed three body kicks on Rafalovich. Starting the third set 10-9, Lee allowed a body kick and a face kick that cost him five points.
Lee leveled the score 18-18 with nine seconds remaining, but just one second from the end, he gave up a penalty point, or "gamjeom." South Korea appealed for the call but it was rejected.
Lee then allowed a kick to Rafalovich in the last second to suffer a close defeat.
In his first major international competition, Lee trounced Sonam Wangchuk of Bhutan 36-2 in the round of 32. He then edged out the defending champion Mahdi Khodabakhshi of Iran 24-22 in the round of 16 and defeated Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison of the Philippines 27-18 in the quarterfinals.
He reached the final by beating Nurlan Myrzabayev of Kazakhstan 17-16. Both fighters were tied until the last second, but the South Korean advanced after Myrzabayev surrendered a point on "gamjeom."
Meanwhile, Cho Gang-min won a bronze medal in the men's 63-kilogram division sparring competition.
Cho lost to Mirhashem Hosseini of Iran in the semifinals at Jakarta Convention Center Plenary Hall in Jakarta and settled for bronze in his first Asiad. (Yonhap)