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China, Spain take 1st golds in Olympic taekwondo
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 08 - 2012

LONDON – China's Wu Jingyu claimed the first gold medal of the Olympic taekwondo competition Wednesday, defending the title she first won in Beijing.
Wu said she spent the last 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,” said bronze medalist Lucija Zaninovic. “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.
“I am very happy to have this second medal,” she said. “It feels like my reward.”
Silver medallist Brigitte Yague, who lost to Wu in the final, said there was no question Wu was the dominant fighter.
“She's become much stronger since Beijing,” she said. “It was difficult to try to predict where she might be kicking us.”
In the final, Wu dominated Yague from the start, using her flexibility to kick Yague repeatedly from close range. At 31, Yague was one of the oldest competitors in the division. She is a three time world champion but has never before won an Olympic medal. “It's a dream come true to have an Olympic medal,” she said. She insisted the color was insignificant. “Any type of medal is all the more rewarding because of how great my rivals are.”
In the men's 58-kilogram category, Joel Gonzalez defeated Lee Dae-hoon of South Korea by a score of 17-8 to win his first Olympic title.
The bronze medals in the women's 48-kilogram division were won by Thailand's Chanatip Sonkham and Croatia's Lucija Zaninovic.
In the men's tournament, world No. 1 Gonzalez beat Lee by blocking his attacks and hitting the South Korean with head shots on the counter.
Gonzalez, 22, is a double world champion and fought aggressively in most of his matches, often using his front leg for targeted attacks on his opponents.
“I did what I know how to do,” he said. “I feel amazing,” he said.
The bronze medals were won by Alexey Denisenko and Colombia's Oscar Munoz Oviedo. — AP


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