Auckland Olympic-style taekwondo fighter Dafydd Sanders came within a golden point of a medal at the WTF grade one German Open at Hamburg, ultimately finishing fifth with his quarter-final finish in the senior middleweight division.
The New Zealand middleweight and former Oceania heavy weight champ showed he is competitive at elite world level by forcing his way into the quarter-finals with a 3-2 win over Austrian champ Christoph Decker in the round of 16.
In the quarter-final Sanders and Montenegro’s Radomir Radenovic were tied after three rounds and went into a sudden death round, which Radenovic won on golden point.
Sanders will now compete in the Dutch Open this weekend, regarded as second in importance only to the world champs and is Europe’s most prestigious taekwondo tournament and like the German Open also an A grade tournament.
As a result of his performance Sanders, 25, earned his first world ranking points with his fifth placed finish emulating Robin Cheong’s fifth place at the Beijing Olympics, at which the WTF ranking system was introduced.
A largely self taught taekwondo fighter, Sanders is head instructor at his family’s Central Olympic taekwondo club in Auckland. He had earlier coached up and coming junior Kiwi representative Fraser McConnell to a meritorious first round win in the junior division of the tournament in Hamburg.