Taekwondo team wins two gold medals

WARRIOR SPIRIT: The male and female members of the nation's Taekwondo team both reached the finals yesterday, adding two more medals to Taiwan's take

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 1

Team Taiwan earned the country two gold medals last night, as the nation's Taekwondo fighters kicked their way into athletic history.

Men's Taekwondo fighter Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎) and Women's Taekwondo fighter Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣), female, both defeated their opponents in the finals of the 2004 Athens Olympic Taekwondo competition yesterday.

Chu, 22-years-old and 173cm tall, and Chen, 26-years-old and 166cm tall, reached the finals after beating their opponents during the first two rounds.

In the semifinals, Chen handily defeated Canada's Ivett Gonda with a score of 3-2 and qualified to fight against Cuba's Yanelis Yuliet Labrada Diaz in the finals, who she also defeated.

When the referee raised Chen's hand to announce her victory, hundreds of Taiwanese people who were attending the competition waved flags and screamed with excitement.

Chu defeated Egyptian athlete Tamer Bayoumi to get a shot at the gold medal. He faced Oscar Francisco Salazar Blanco of Mexico.

Chen easily defeated Nepal's Sangina Baidya with a score 4-0 during the preliminary round. Chen was faster than her opponent, and she continually used her left leg for simple kicks without a lot of window dressing.

Meanwhile, during the quarterfinal, Chen faced a tough challenge from Columbia's Gladys Alicia Mora-Romero, and the athletes reached a draw after two rounds with 0-0.

Though Chen displayed a more positive performance, adopting different movements of roundhouse technical kicks, and left and right wing attacks, yet Mora-Romero reacted with a cautious tactic to ignore Chen's lure movements.

Just like those previous international Taekwondo session, protests against the referees' unfairness from losers interfered the games. Thailand and Austria both protested to the Olympic Organization Committee. Thailand's coach even temporarily stood in the ring and refused to leave while the second quarterfinal was in progress.

In the Men's under-58kg, Chu who is nicknamed the "warlord" of Taiwan, knocked out his first opponent, Libya's Ezedin Salem, within one minute at the preliminary round.

Chu scored four points with three offensive kicks, including a direct attack on Salem's face, bloodying his nose.

Egypt's Tamer Bayoumi and Greece's Michalis Mouroutsos both smoothly crushed their initial opponents in the preliminary round, to contend with each other in the quarterfinal.

Though thousands of Greek supporters cheered on Mouroutsos, who became a Greek national hero after winning the 2000 Sydney Olympic Taekwondo gold medal, the Egyptian athlete demonstrated his skills to win the match with a score of 10-3.

Chu proved his reputation by beating Spain's Juan Ramos in the quarterfinal match 9-1.

Chu's coach Liou Ching-wen (劉慶文) vowed that Chu had done his best to meet his compatriots' expectations to win a gold medal.

"The only factor we were worrying about was an unfair judgment by the referee," Liou said.

He stressed that if any "particular" referee had tried to "manipulate" the results of the competition, he would have launched a strong protest in front of the international media.