TAEKWONDO: Nicole Palma Reaches Quarterfinals of World Junior Championships

May 09, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
Women's lightweight Nicole Palma (Lake Worth, Fla.) reached the quarterfinal round but the U.S. team was shut out of the medals on the third day of the five-day 7th World Junior Championships in Izmir, Turkey. The event runs through Sunday and includes 749 athletes from a record 84 countries. Palma reeled off three straight victories over Macedonia's Aleksandra Milanova (7-0), Israel's Shafrir Kadan (4-1) and Greece's Eleni Anna Kammenou (6-3) to advance to the quarterfinals before losing by a 4-0 score to eventual gold medalist Ha Giang Hoang of Vietnam. Sweden's Jennifer Agren won the silver medal while Russia's Kamila Gammatsaeva and Korea's Yu Jin Kim claimed the bronze. Also in action for the U.S. on Friday were men's lightweight Tyler Sawyer (Anchorage, Alaska), men's welterweight Jared Schneider (Sugar Land, Texas) and women's welterweight Gabriella Vazzana (Paris, Va.). Sawyer opened with a 7-6 victory over Germany's Tahir Guelec but then dropped a 4-1 decision in the Round of 16 to eventual gold medalist Gyu Won Choi of Korea. Iran's Mahdi Balazadehaboli took the silver medal and China's Shi Yanhui and Kazakhstan's Bekkassymov Zhalgas were the bronze medalists in the men's lightweight class. Schneider lost his opening match to Robin Laus of the Netherlands, 5-1. Korea's Sang Won Kang won the men's welterweight title with a win over Egypt's Abdallah Osama T. Ahmed in the finals. Bronze medalists were Afghanistan's Sayed Hasan Rezai and Jordan's Mohammad I.A. Abu Taweelih. Vazzana dropped a 3-2 decision to Turkey's Tuba Ucak in her opening match. The women's welterweight champion was Korea's Yu Na Jang. Poland's Emilia Dabrowska claimed the silver medal while Darya Zubovich of Belarus and Timothea Diola of Cyprus were the bronze medalists. The fourth day of the five-day event takes place on Saturday with four more U.S. fighters in action: men's middleweight Thomas Lee (Rockville, Md.), women's middleweight Jacquelyn Lauricella (Port Orange, Fla.), women's light middleweight Whitney Daniel (Virginia Beach, Va.) and men's light middleweight John Hansel (Ashburn, Va.). ###