HAMMAMET, Tunisia (April 9, 2018) -- Melvy Alvarez of Connecticut came within one victory of reaching the medal round as the 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships got underway Monday in Hammamet. Fighting in the male -45kg division, Alvarez scored consecutive wins over Spain's Inaki Boix Madrigal (14-10) and China's Kai Cheng (22-19) to reach the quarterfinal round. However, his day would end there with an 18-11 loss to India's Kanha Mainali. Mainali would go on to capture a bronze medal.
Elsewhere, Sharif Salim of California and Katie Smith of Omaha, Neb., advanced to the round of 16 in their respective divisions. Salim put together back-to-back wins in the male -48kg class over Bulgaria's Atanas Yordanov (16-2) and Japan's Soshi Nagai (14-3) before suffering an 18-11 loss to Kazakhstan's Burkit Tursynbay. Smith opened her day in the female -44kg division with a 21-12 victory over Finland's Ida-Elina Tammila before losing to Croatia's Lena Stojkovic, 23-3. Stojkovic ended the day with a bronze medal.
Ellie Bezanson of Washington lost her opening match to eventual silver medalist Emine Gogegakan of Turkey, 22-3, in the female -42kg division.
Four more Americans will be in action on Tuesday. Vincent Bui of California will fight in the male -51kg division, Garrett Batt of Virginia competes in the male -55kg class, Nicole Pelina (Northridge, Calif.) is in action in the female -46kg division, and Faith Dillon (Las Vegas, Nev.) fights in the female -49kg class.
The World Taekwondo Junior Championships run through Friday.