Wed, Oct 02, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan wins medals, but misses gold

TRIUMPHS IN BUSAN The nation's team clinched two silver medals and three bronze, enough to take Taiwan into the top 10 medal winners so far

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN BUSAN,SOUTH KOREA

Taiwan's Wang Shin Yuan, left, and Yang Chin-yi, right, smile with their silver and bronze medals for the men's 56kg weightlifting competition at the 14th Asian Games in Busan. China's Wu Meijin, center, took gold.

PHOTO: AFP

All that glitters is not gold, Taiwan's athletes at the 14th Asian Games found yesterday in Busan, South Korea.

Taiwan's first medals were silver and bronze, but they were enough to give Taiwan a top-10 ranking after two days of competition.

Taiwan's rugby 7s team fought valiantly but could not overcome a South Korean side at the peak of its powers in the final, falling 33-21.

Meanwhile, women judoka Wang Chin-fang (王沁芳) won bronze in the 63kg category and judoka Liu Shu-yun (劉書韻) repeated the feat in the 70kg class.

Meanwhile, Wang Shin-yuan (王信淵) claimed silver in the men's weightlifting 56kg class, just beating compatriot Yang Chin-yi (楊景翊) who took Taiwan's third bronze of the day.

Taiwan's sterling performances in rugby 7s against strong teams the previous day boded well going into the final round. Having whitewashed Hong Kong and China, Taiwan felt it could go all the way.

It's first task was to dispose of Thailand in the Pool B semifinal and it did so easily, brushing the Thais aside 19-0, with two tries in the first half from Wu Chih-wei (吳志威) and Pan Kuei-chih (潘溎志) and another touchdown from Wang Kuo-feng (王國峰) mid-way through the second half.

It should have been a confidence booster, but instead coach Wu Mao-sheng (吳茂盛) said his young team was overawed going into the final against a heavily supported South Korea.

"We played very well in this competition and in the semifinal against Thailand we tried for an easy win, but then our players got a little nervous," Wu said.

Five minutes into the game and Taiwan was 5-0 down, as Korea's Park No-young broke through for the home team's first try and kicker Sung Hae-kyoung converted for two extra points and a 7-0 advantage.

Undaunted, Taiwan immediately fought back, with Chen Wen-yen (陳文彥) breaking free from three Korean players and charging down the left-hand side for a touchdown, adding the conversion through Pan.

Then, just before halftime, steady pressure from the Koreans paid off as Yong Hwang-myung managed to get over the line for a try after a scrum near the line. The conversion, however, bounced back off the bar and Korea led by five at the break.

Taiwan shocked the home fans when the second half started, however, when Wu Chih-hsien (吳志賢) ran right down the middle of the park to score. The conversion gave Taiwan a 14-12 lead.

But Korea was not to be denied. It broke straight back from the kick, with Park Chang-min -- who proved to be a handful for Taiwan's defense -- collecting the ball and running through practically unopposed.

It was Park again who charged down a kick just after the restart, picking up the loose ball and sprinting in for his second try in as many minutes to give his team a 26-14 advantage.

It was too much for Taiwan's young tigers, who managed to get a try back when Chang Chin-fong (張慶豐) pushed over near the line. Korea finished off with an injury-time touchdown from Jun Jong-man and a final score of 33-21 after the conversion.

"We didn't get as much rest as we would have liked and we weren't 100 percent," coach Wu said. He said the Korean team, most of whom are in their late 20s, was at its peak and would probably break up after the Games.

Taiwan, on the other hand, was a young team that would benefit from competing at this level and would "continue to grow and get better if it stays together," he said.

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