Guillermo Pérez (taekwondo)

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Pérez and the second or maternal family name is Sandoval.
Guillermo Pérez
Medal record
Competitor for  Mexico
Men's taekwondo
Olympic Games
Gold 2008 Beijing 58 kg
World Championships
Silver 2007 Beijing Flyweight

Guillermo Pérez Sandoval (born October 14, 1979 in Uruapan, Michoacán) is an Olympic gold medal-winning Mexican taekwondo practitioner. Pérez stands at 171 cm and weighs 58 kg.[1][2]

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Pérez won the gold medal in the −58 kg category.[3] Pérez defeated Dominican Gabriel Mercedes on August 20, 2008. The match ended 1–1 after four rounds, but Pérez was deemed superior by unanimous decision.[4][5]

Early years[edit]

Pérez started taekwondo at 5 years old, citing Bruce Lee films as his inspiration.[6] By the age of 10, Pérez won his first state tournament in Michoacán. Such success was the gate to compete nationally, earning a bronze medal in his first national competition. In 1989, he achieved first place at the national infant competition. In 1995 he traveled to Ottawa to assist his first international competition, placing second. Later on in 1996, he was the first place winner at the Taekwondo U.S. Open, in which more than 60 countries participated.

Mexican National Team[edit]

Pérez moved to Puebla in 1999 to train with the Olympic champion William de Jesús, who helped give 20-year-old Pérez the experience to get into the national team after unsuccessfully trying to enter it before. He finally became part of the Mexican taekwondo team that traveled to the Pan American Games of 1999 in Winnipeg, Canada.

In April 2005, he traveled to Madrid to compete in the 2005 World Taekwondo Championships, placing ninth. Three years later, he won second place at the Dutch Open, which gave him the opportunity to participate in the Beijing 2007 World Taekwondo Championships in the flyweight (−58 kg) category. There, Pérez won the silver medal, losing to Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain in the final.[7]

Gold Medal[edit]

Earning the gold medal put Pérez among a select few for Mexico, giving the feat historical importance. His win marked only the third gold medal for Mexico since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and the first for a male since the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the 11th gold medal ever for the Mexicans, and the country's 53rd overall Olympic medal.[8]