Taiwanese judoka Yang Yung-wei (楊勇緯) yesterday won Taiwan’s first gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, defeating South Korea’s Lee Ha-rim 1-0 in the men’s 60kg category.
The gold medal was Taiwan’s 100th since it first participated in the Games in 1954. Yang is also the first Taiwanese to win a gold medal in men’s judo at the Games.
After defeating Lee, a teary-eyed Yang hugged his coach, Liu Wen-deng (劉文等).
“I finally did it,” the world No. 7 judoka shouted.
Previously, Taiwan’s judo team had only collected four silvers in the Asian Games, all of which were won by women.
Yang’s gold medal match was his fourth showdown against world No. 3 Lee. Yang has won all of them.
Yang, who turns 26 on Thursday, won a bronze in the same category in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
He faced an uphill battle to the final this year. During the quarter-final, he survived a nearly six-minute bout to crush Japanese Olympic medalist Hayato Kondo, who had defeated him in the final at the Tokyo Olympics.
During the semi-final, Yang secured his spot in the final by pinning Mongolian Enkhtaivan Ariunbold using a great inner rip and an arm lock triangle control maneuver in the final 84 seconds.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee
Liu said that the gold medal is important to Yang, the nation and judo competitors in Taiwan.
“Training an athlete is not easy. We hope that this will inspire more people to practice judo,” Liu said.
After the Asian Games, Yang is to compete in tournaments to accumulate enough points to qualify and earn a top seed for next year’s Summer Olympics in Paris, Liu said.
Chen Hsin-ya (陳歆雅) yesterday won Taiwan’s first medal at this year’s Asian Games, winning bronze in the women’s individual taekwondo poomsae event, while 24-year-old Ma Yun-chung (馬允中) took silver in the men’s individual taekwondo poomsae.
Taiwan’s Chen Chi-ya (陳淇亞), 18, made it to the final in the 10m air rifle category, but ended her bid for a medal after finishing eighth.
Taiwan’s men’s artistic gymnastics team also won a bronze medal, while China and Japan won gold and a silver respectively.
Eleven-year-old Lin Yi-fan (林逸凡), Taiwan’s youngest-ever Asian Games athlete, qualified for the final of women’s park skateboarding.
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