(June 27, 2017) – Two-time Olympian Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.) won the silver medal in the women’s -67-kilogram division Tuesday as the World Taekwondo Championships reached its fourth day of competition in Muju, Korea. It was McPherson’s second career world championship medal to go along with the bronze she captured in 2015.
McPherson, also a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, won three matches the previous day to reach the medal round. She defeated Belgium’s Laura Roebben, 20-10, Poland’s Anika Godel-Chelmecka, 16-7, and Canada’s Melissa Pagnotta, 12-10.
In Tuesday’s semifinals, McPherson faced the slightly taller Mengyu Zhang of China, who used her reach advantage to score a first-round, three-point head kick. The score remained 3-0 through the opening two rounds. McPherson finally penetrated the tough defense of Zhang early in the third round with a two-point body shot to make it 3-2. Then, in the final 13 seconds, McPherson reeled off two more two-point kicks to the torso of Zhang to go up 6-3. Two penalty points incurred by McPherson in the waning seconds made it 6-5, and when a last-second appeal by the Chinese coach for a video replay was denied, McPherson was through to the gold-medal match.
There she would face Turkey’s Nur Tatar. In their only previous meeting, Tatar defeated McPherson 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic Games in London and went on to win the silver medal. She also won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and entered this week’s event as the defending silver medalist at the world championships.
Both fighters played a feeling-out round to open the match, which remained scoreless until McPherson fell to the mat in the second round to incur a penalty point. However, she regrouped to score a two-point kick to Tatar’s torso to close out the round with a 2-1 lead.
Tatar found success early in the final round, scoring two kicks and one punch to McPherson’s body to take a 6-2 lead. McPherson countered with a body shot of her own with 25 seconds remaining, but could not find any other openings in the waning seconds as Tatar prevailed, 6-4, for her first world championship title.
Team USA will line up for another medal early Wednesday morning as Jackie Galloway (Wylie, Texas) faces Shuyin Zheng of China in the semifinals of the women’s +73kg division. Galloway won a bronze medal at the last world championships in 2015, as well as bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.