Turkey's Merve Dinçel earned her first World Taekwondo Championships gold medal in Baku ©World Taekwondo

Turkey's Merve Dinçel won a dramatic women's under-49 kilograms final to deny Olympic champion Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand a third gold at the World Taekwondo Championships here, and there were victories in the men's events for South Korea's Kang Sang-hyun and Italy's Simone Alessio.

Two-time Olympic medallist Wongpattanakit came within one second of winning the final in two rounds after taking the first on hits and looking set to do the same in the second.

However, Dinçel scored in the nick of time to take the second round 3-2, and delivered a sublime performance in the third to triumph 11-4.

Earlier in the day, Dinçel had beaten Russian individual neutral Elizaveta Ryadninskaya 7-1 anf 18-6, Saudi Arabia's Dunya Abutaleb 7-0 and 5-1 and Kazakhstan's Botakoz Kapanova 7-3 and 3-2.

An impressive semi-final victory over Spain's Adriana Cerezo Iglesias 3-3 on hits and 4-0 meant the Olympic silver medallist and world number one had to settle for bronze along with Croatia's Bruna Duvančić, who led against Wongpattanakit but lost in three rounds.

Kang was crowned champion at under-87kg after a day full of surprises in Azerbaijan's capital.

That extended all the way to the final, where the 20-year-old beat Croatia's world number two Ivan Šapina, a bronze medallist four years ago, 6-5 and 9-7.

World number one Ícaro Miguel Soares of Brazil was beaten by Kang en route to the final, the South Korean triumphing 11-1 and 3-2.

Kang also defeated Morocco's Soufiane El-Asbi and Egypt's Ahmad Rawy in three rounds, and did likewise against Iran's Arian Salimi.

The semi-final against Salimi included a remarkable second round which finished 16-16.

The Iranian triumphed in that one on hits, but Kang hit back to take the decider 7-6.

Belarusian Artsiom Plonis became the third athlete competing as a neutral because of the war in Ukraine to finish on the podium, his run to the semi-finals ended by Šapina despite taking a first-round lead.

Defending champion Mehdi Khodabakhshi of Serbia lost in the quarter-finals to Plonis, and in fact none of last year's podium were able to medal this year.

Runner-up Meng Mingkuan of China was also beaten by Plonis in the round of 32, while bronze medallists Bryan Salazar of Mexico and Nikita Rafalovich of Uzbekistan lost to Salimi and Šapina respectively at the quarter-final stage.

World number one Simone Alessio of Italy, left, won a low-scoring men's under-80kg final against the United States' Carl Nickolas, right ©World Taekwondo
World number one Simone Alessio of Italy, left, won a low-scoring men's under-80kg final against the United States' Carl Nickolas, right ©World Taekwondo

Men's under-80kg world number one Alessio won all of his matches in two rounds, including against China's Tang Hao, Matej Nikolić of Croatia and defending champion Park Woo-hyeok of South Korea to reach the semi-finals.

He took a low-scoring route to gold in the evening session, scoring just six points across his semi-final against Colombia's Miguel Trejos Salas and final against the United States' Carl Nickolas.

As he did in his semi-final, Alessio won a scoreless first round on hits against Nickolas, then took the second 2-1 to clinch gold.

Nickolas had caused an upset in the semi-final against Olympic and world bronze medallist Seif Eissa of Egypt, triumphing 2-0 and 10-5.

The World Taekwondo Championships is set to continue tomorrow with the men's under-63kg and women's over-73kg events.