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Jordan wins first-ever Olympic gold medal

Ahmad Abughaush made history by winning Jordan’s first ever Olympic medal, claiming gold in the men’s under 68kg taekwondo division in Rio.

The 20-year-old beat Alexey Denisenko of Russia 10-6 in the final as South Korea’s Lee Dae-hoon and Joel Gonzalez of Spain won the bronze medals.

Abughaush’s victory wrapped up a surprising day of upsets. In a nail-biting final, Abughaush landed several jumping head shots that elicited gasps from the audience. Abughaush beat Denisenko by a score of 10 to 6.

2016 Rio Olympics - Taekwondo - Men's -68kg Victory Ceremony - Carioca Arena 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Ahmad Abughaush (JOR) of Jordan poses with his medal on the podium.   REUTERS/Issei Kato (BRAZIL  - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS SPORT TAEKWONDO) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

2016 Rio Olympics – Taekwondo – Men’s -68kg Victory Ceremony – Carioca Arena 3 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 18/08/2016. Ahmad Abughaush (JOR) of Jordan poses with his medal on the podium. REUTERS/Issei Kato (BRAZIL – Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS SPORT TAEKWONDO) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Abughaush’s success was closely watched back home – much of Jordan’s royal family stayed up to watch his historic run at the Olympics. Soon after he received his medal, he got a telephone call from the King’s brother, Prince Feisel al Hussein, president of the country’s Olympic Committee.

“He told me that the people of Jordan are very happy and crying tears of joy for me,” he said. Abughaush said he was very happy to be able to win Jordan’s first Olympic medal. He acknowledged his rather unorthodox style, saying that while he and his coach had plotted out how to fight certain opponents, certain moments on the mat were “improvised.”

He said he would celebrate his gold medal by going out with other Jordanians in Rio and by singing with them.

(The Associated Press and AFP)

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