From November 13-18, 2015 the wushu community was transfixed by the power and beauty of the world’s premier taolu and sanda competition at the 13th World Wushu Championships in Jakarta. Nearly 1,000 participants from 73 nations converged on Istora Senayan, the lively venue nestled in the Indonesian capital, to attend what has become IWUF’s standout signature biennial event — and the most highly anticipated week of wushu in the world. Those who couldn’t make the trip didn’t have to miss a minute of action as every event was streamed live online on WushuTV, the vibrant new home of IWUF’s exclusive wushu video content. Through this newly debuted platform, audiences around the globe became connected as one community, sharing the very best that wushu has to offer.
In the end, 34 countries took home a total of 167 medals from the Championships, and China, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Hong Kong and Malaysia emerged topping the medal chart. Charismatic Indonesian wushu stars Lindswell and Charles Sutanto both proudly won double golds — and the hearts of the audience — amidst cheers of an enthusiastic arena. Iran’s sanda powerhouse rocked the leitai with a near-sweep of 6 sanda golds.
Some countries were overjoyed to celebrate their first taolu gold medal in a World Wushu Championships ever – including Australia, Brazil and Egypt. Several seasoned star athletes added medals to their already large collections – Muslim Salikhov counted his fifth sanda gold, and Hamidreza Gholipour won his fourth sanda gold. Other younger athletes, competing at the World Wushu Championships for the first time, left Jakarta without a medal but with a profound experience that will undoubtedly keep their eyes on the prize for Kazan 2017.
The women’s finals were dominated by China and Iran as each nation fought hard to take three titles each; the only other gold medal went to the Philippine’s lively heroine Divine Wally in the 48kg category. The Chinese and Iranian athletes were both strong and technically gifted. A particularly standout match came from Shahrbano Mansourian who faced a tough Filipino opponent in Hergie Bacyadan, but the Iranian’s iron discipline, lighting fast kicks and stylish techniques ultimately put her over the top.
Following the women’s sanda action, anticipation rose for the men’s sanda finals. Between shouts of “Iran… Iran… Iran…” and “Zhongguo dui, Jiayou” (Team China, Come on) the venue was alive with energy. These 11 fights would feature five Chinese and three Iranian athletes as the overall medals standing race reached a crescendo. The Russian presence also brought much expectation, and the beautiful fighting techniques that characterize Russian sanda, to the lei tai.
China came away from the afternoon session with four men’s golds. Iran’s near perfect sweep – with three golds and one bronze – once again displayed its masterful dominance in the sport. Top Iranian champion Hamid Reza Gholipour would defeat his opponent Illia Varchenia from Belarus to win his fourth gold World Championships medal. The Indonesian audience went crazy when 56Kg Yusef Widiyanto took home his nation’s only sanda gold, and Egypt reveled in their second golden moment of the Championships when 90Kg Motaz Abdelsalam slugged his way to victory.