Zolotic Wins Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament

April 06, 2018, 4:09 p.m. (ET)

HAMMAMET, Tunisia (April 6, 2018) -- Anastasija Zolotic left no doubt about her being a part of this year's Youth Olympic Games. The Florida teenager marched through her bracket in the female -49kg division to capture the gold medal on Friday as the World Taekwondo Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament got underway in Hammamet.

Zolotic won six straight matches en route to the gold medal. Three of her victories were by point gap, including a 23-3 win in the final over China's Zihan Cao. She began the day with a convincing victory over Cape Verde's Vania Andrade Timas that saw Zolotic up 46-2 when the referee stopped the contest. Zolotic followed that up with consecutive point-gap victories over Ethiopia's Sofia Belete (22-1) and Kazakhstan's Tangsholpan Kaiyrzhankyzy (23-3) to reach the quarterfinals.

In her quarterfinal match, Zolotic again won convincingly with a 39-21 triumph over Korea's Ye-Ji Lee. Her closest contest of the day was her semifinal match against Russia's Elizaveta Ryadninskaya where she advanced to the gold medal match with a 29-25 victory.

Joining Zolotic at the Youth Olympic Games in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be Sharif Salim of California. Salim reached the quarterfinals of the male -48kg division on Friday, good enough in a tournament that qualifies the top eight in each weight class for the Youth Olympic Games.

Salim started off with a 28-8 point-gap win over Nepal's Sailesh Giri, and then a 17-6 victory over Austria's Binay Karki. He reached the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 40-36 win over Colombia's Andres Moreno before withdrawing once he had secured his spot on the team. Salim also has to fight on Monday on the first day of the World Junior Taekwondo Championships.


Saturday is the second and final day of the World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the Youth Olympic Games and features four more U.S. fighters. Following that, the 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships will hold competition April 9-13 in 10 female and 10 male weight categories for ages 15-17. 

The daily lineup for Team USA is as follows:



Friday, April 6
Sharif Salim 
(Calif.) - Male -48kg
Anastasija Zolotic (Fla.) - Female -49kg

Saturday, April 7
Garrett Batt 
(Va.) - Male -55kg
Khalfani Harris (Fla.) - Male -63kg
Ashleigh Ogan (Carson, Calif.) - Female -44kg
Melanie Diaz (Texas) - Female +63kg



Monday, April 9
Melvy Alvarez 
(Conn.) - Male -45kg
Sharif Salim (Calif.) - Male -48kg
Ellie Bezanson (Wash.) - Female -42kg
Katie Smith (Omaha, Neb.) - Female -44kg

Tuesday, April 10
Vincent Bui 
(Calif.) - Male -51kg
Garrett Batt (Va.) - Male =55kg
Nicole Pelina (Northridge, Calif.) - Female -46kg
Faith Dillon (Las Vegas, Nev.) - Female -49kg

Wednesday, April 11
Julian KB Kim 
(Va.) - Male -59kg
Khalfani Harris (Fla.) - Male -63kg
Anastasija Zolotic (Fla.) - Female -52kg
Naomi Bennett (Minn.) - Female -55kg

Thursday, April 12
CJ Nickolas 
(Calif.) - Male -68kg
Zak Day (Littleton, Colo.) - Male -73kg
Aliyah Shipman (Fla.) - Female -59kg
Julie Zlochevskiy (Minn.) - Female -63kg

Friday, April 13
Evan Gray 
(Atlanta, Ga.) - Male -78kg
Vlado Duvnjak (Minn.) - Male +78kg
Alena Viana (Nev.) - Female -68kg
Mason Porch (N.M.) - Female +68kg

The team will be coached by Gergely Salim, Dennis White, Dennis Kim and Eui Lee.

Follow USA Taekwondo's website (www.usa-taekwondo.us) and social media pages for updates throughout the week.