Ivory Coast’s martial art legend Cheick Sallah Cissé defeated Greek star Apostolos Telikostoglou in Athens on Thursday to claim gold medal in the men’s under 80 kilograms at the ongoing World Taekwondo President’s Cup for Europe region.
The 24-year-old Olympic champion stole the show at the Ano Liosia Olympic Indoor Hall packed with supporters of Telikostoglou, the home favourite.
Earlier in the day, Cissé’s countrywoman Ruth Gbagbi, an Olympic bronze medallist, grabbed gold in the women’s under 67kg category with a 12-2 triumph over Matea Jelic from Croatia.
Cissé was defeated at the African Taekwondo Championships final in Agadir in Morocco last month.
“After the African Championships I was so disappointed, so I went to the gym and worked really hard with my coach Juan Ramos and Ruth Gbagbi, my team-mate and fellow champion,” Cissé said.
“I worked so hard to get ready and today I had some good wins which gave me courage to fight.
“In the final, I had to fight hard with Apostolos Telikostoglou, who did a great job all day and was on form.
“But I am a champion.
“I always adapt and I produce my best fight to take the gold.”
Taekwondo is gradually becoming a popular sport in Ivory Coast courtesy of the exploits of both athletes.