Olympic taekwondo competitor Su Li-wen (蘇麗文) was lauded yesterday by fans and politicians across party lines for her display of perseverence on the Olympic floor on Thursday.
Su, 27, aggravated an old injury to her left knee in her 1-0 first round defeat to South Korea’s Lim Su-jeong.
She tied with Croatia’s Martina Zubcic 4-4 after the first three rounds of the bronze medal match, but was defeated after losing a decisive point in the fourth round.
During the match, Su continued fighting until the end — despite falling to the mat 11 times in visible pain — as she had in previous competitions.
Her perseverance earned her rounds of applause and cheers from spectators in Beijing, as well as from members of the international press.
Su was carried from the mat by her coach after her defeat and was immediately taken to a hospital for treatment.
Going into the Olympics, Su, champion of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok and the 2008 Asian Taekwondo Championship, was described by Sports Illustrated as Taiwan’s only plausible chance of winning a gold medal in Beijing.
It was Su’s first Olympics.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called Su yesterday morning to express his admiration for the courage and perseverance she demonstrated, saying she had moved the people of Taiwan.
“President Ma was also deeply moved by Su Li-wen’s fighting spirit. Her display of sportsmanship during the matches makes us even prouder than grabbing a gold medal,” Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) quoted Ma as saying yesterday.
Ma later phoned Su’s parents to congratulate them on their daughter’s brave performance in Beijing, Wang said.
Ma also called taekwondo bronze medallist Sung Yu-chi (宋玉麒) to congratulate him on his performance, Wang said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators filed a request with the Cabinet yesterday, asking the government to bestow an honor on Su for her “remarkable performance” in Beijing.
DPP legislators Hsueh Ling (薛凌) and Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said in a joint press release that Su should be included in elementary school textbooks.
“Although Su didn’t win a medal in the competition, her tough will to fight to the last second has inspired many,” the press release said.
“Even the Chinese press praised her for winning respect even though she lost the game,” the lawmakers said.
Hsueh and Chai suggested that the government reward Su for her performance with a life-time monthly check, special priority for government positions and discounts on utility bills.