Israeli town celebrates as golden son grabs Jordan’s first-ever medal
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'A great honor' for Abu Ghosh

Israeli town celebrates as golden son grabs Jordan’s first-ever medal

Taekwondo fighter Ahmad Abughaush, reportedly born in town of Abu Ghosh outside Jerusalem, makes unexpected run to win Olympic gold

Ahmad Abughaush, of Jordan, left, battles Alexey Denisenko of Russia, in men's 68-kg taekwondo gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, August 18, 2016. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
Ahmad Abughaush, of Jordan, left, battles Alexey Denisenko of Russia, in men's 68-kg taekwondo gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, August 18, 2016. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)

A taekwondo fighter reportedly born in Israel brought Olympic glory to Jordan late Thursday, and celebrations among his relatives in Israel, by winning gold and the kingdom’s first-ever Olympic medal.

The 20-year-old Ahmad Abughaush wrapped up a day of upsets at the Rio Games by defeating Russia’s Alexey Denisenko in a Thursday night 68-kilogram division final, during which Abughaush landed several jumping head shots that elicited gasps from the audience. Abughaush beat Denisenko 10-6.

Celebrations broke out after the win across Jordan and in the town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem, where Abughaush was born in 1996, according to Israeli media reports.

His family decamped for Jordan shortly after the birth, but a number of relatives still live in the picturesque town, famed for its hummus restaurants.

Abu Ghosh (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)
A view of the town of Abu Ghosh (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

“This is a great honor for us,” said civic booster Jawdat Ibrahim, a restaurateur and philanthropist.

Ibrahim told Israel’s Channel 10 news that town leaders would travel to Jordan to congratulate the prodigal son in person. He said the Abughaush family comes back to visit Abu Ghosh every year.

On the way to the gold-medal bout, the 10th-ranked Abughaush knocked out second-seeded Dae-Hoon Lee of South Korea before eliminating Olympic champion Joel Bonilla Gonzalez of Spain, who won the 58-kilogram division at the London Games.

Lee applauded Abughaush’s performance after being beaten by him, raising Abughaush’s arm in victory when he was announced the winner.

The men’s bronze medals were won by Spain’s Joel Bonilla Gonzalez and South Korea’s Lee Dae-hoon.

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