By Tim Hipps (IMCOM)July 27, 2011
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Colorado Army Reserve Pfc. Ryan McCulloch led Team USA’s Taekwondo competitors at the 5th CISM Military World Games.
McCulloch won his first two fights before losing in the quarterfinals on July 22. He opened with a flurry of turning kicks and head shots during a 14-7 victory over Mario Fyllakoudais of Cyprus.
McCulloch needed sudden-death overtime to prevail against Bosnia/Herzegovenia’s Nikola Oroz. After rallying to an 8-8 tie in the final minute of regulation, he scored the first point in overtime for a 9-8 victory and a berth in the quarterfinals.
German National Team member Tornik Hayrapetian defeated McCulloch, 10-4, in the quarterfinals.
Colorado Army National Guard Capt. Alexander White also advanced to the bronze medal bracket before losing 8-1 to Italy’s Leonardo Basile.
White opened with a 10-8 victory over India’s Nirmal Singh before losing 10-1 to Iran’s Sajjad Mardani. Because the Iranian reached the finals, White advanced to the repechage round, where he lost to Basile.
After receiving a first-round bye, South Carolina Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fennell punched and kicked his way to a 10-0 victory over Zoran Krajina of Bosnia/Herzegovenia for a berth in the quarterfinals. He lost 8-4 to Jordan’s Anas Azazi in the quarters.
On the opening day of taekwondo competition, U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program Pfc. Julio Saunders of Fort Carson, Colo., lost 14-4 to China’s Jiannan Huang, who scored on a four-point head shot in the second round and two more in the third.
One day later, Air Force Capt. A.J. Bonitati of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., lost 4-2 to Venezuela’s Kenny Lejarrazo.
In the final day of taekwondo competition, Spc. Gregory Shepherd of the Maryland Army Reserve reached the bronze medal bracket after losing 8-0 to Korea’s Kim Jung Soo by virtue of the Korean fighting into the finals.
In his next bout, Shepherd scored a three-point shot to the head of China’s Xin Wei Wang in the third period but lost the match, 6-3, ending his tournament.
Army Capt. Punnarin Koy of Fort McCoy, Wis., lost his opening bout to Mohammed Dhair of Qatar. Koy led 2-0 after one round, but Dhair landed a three-point head shot in the second and scored again in the third for a 5-2 victory.
Sgt. Ashley Hauger of the California Army Reserve lost 8-7 to Tunisia’s Amira Ebdelli.
U.S. Army Sports Specialist Claudia Berwager contributed to this article