Fri, Aug 10, 2012 - Page 20 News List

London 2012 Olympics: Taiwanese fall to ‘more fearless’ opponents

Staff writer, with CNA and AP, LONDON

Thailand’s Chanatip Sonkham, left, fights against Taiwan’s Yang Shu-chun in their women’s under-49kg taekwondo quarter-final in London on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Taiwanese athletes need to increase the diversity of their tactics in order to move on to the next level in taekwondo, veteran athlete Yang Shu-chun said after her defeat in Wednesday’s under-49kg category quarter-finals.

Yang, seeded second and one of the athletes predicted to get to the final, defeated Germany’s Sumeyye Manz 10-3 in the preliminary round, but much to the nation’s surprise she lost to seventh seeded Chanatip Sonkham of Thailand 6-0 in the quarter-finals.

With a deficit of 4-0 after the second round of the three-round match, Yang said she was not worried because she thought she would be able to close the gap with an attack to Sonkham’s head.

However, not only was she unable to score any points in the third, she lost two more points in the final 10 seconds to make her elimination inescapable.

Yang said after the match that “foreign athletes are relatively more fearless in competition” and that Taiwan’s athletes, including her, are not diverse enough in the strategies they use.

The 26-year-old said she wants to take a vacation before thinking about the next step in her sporting career.

Yang’s coach and boyfriend, Liu Tsung-ta, said he was to blame for the loss, which also dashed the country’s hopes of a gold medal.

“I didn’t come up with different strategies after our opponent changed her tactics. I’m sorry,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Wei Chen-yang ended his Olympic debut by losing to Alexey Denisenko of Russia 10-7 in the quarter-finals of the men’s under-58kg category. He had beaten Le Huynh Chau of Vietnam 5-1 earlier in the day.

Trailing 5-2 into the third round, Wei gained two more points with an offensive punch and a defensive punch. He received three extra points to tie the match at 7-7 after Denisenko was issued seven warning penalties.

Taiwanese athletes in action

THURSDAY, AUG. 9

Taekwondo

Men’s under-58kg

Alexey Denisenko of Russia defeated Wei Chen-yang 10-7 SDP in the quarter-finals.

Women’s under-49kg

Chanatip Sonkham of Thailand defeated Yang Shu-chun 6-0 PTF in the quarter-finals.

Women’s under-57kg

Tseng Li-cheng defeated Andrea Paoli of Lebanon 5-2 PTF in the quarter-finals.


Denisenko made a three-point kick to Wei’s head in the overtime round, but Wei’s coach quickly made an appeal after the Taiwanese contended that, although the kick was uncomfortably close, it did not reach his head.

However, the review jury ruled that the attack was valid and Denisenko advanced to the semi-finals.

“I’m sorry. I’m still not good enough,” Wei said in tears after his hopes of bringing home an Olympic medal as a Father’s Day gift dissolved.

The 20-year-old said he respected the ruling and vowed that he would return to the Olympics to achieve his dream.

Both Yang and Wei had a chance of competing in the repechage to vie for a bronze if the athletes who beat them lost entered the final, but that did not happen, as Sonkham lost 10-9 to Spain’s Brigitte Yague and Denisenko lost to Lee Dae-hoon of South Korea 7-6.

In the women’s competition, China’s Wu Jingyu claimed the gold, defending the title she won in Beijing.

Wu said she had spent the past four years training even harder and learning how to fight better under pressure. It paid off.

Wu won most of her matches so decisively they were ended early after she racked up at least a 12-point lead on her rivals. Taekwondo fights are automatically stopped if one fighter is 12 points ahead because the gap is considered too big to close.

“She is amazing,” bronze medalist Lucija Zaninovic said. “She’s a very great fighter and the results speak for themselves.”

Wu herself said she was very happy, and said she and her coach spent much time studying her opponent’s fight tactics to figure out how to defeat them.

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