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China, Mexico split two golds at Beijing Olympic taekwondo tourney
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08:37, August 21, 2008

China's taekwondo player Wu Jingyu claimed title in women's 49kg category and Mexico's Guillermo Perez pocketed the men's 58kg gold at the Beijing Olympic on Wednesday.

It's the first time for China to win this class since taekwondo made its Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000.

"I have been waiting for this day for a long time," Wu said.

With deafening cheerings from home fans, Wu launched aggressive attacks as soon as the final began and scored one point with a side kick and made her Thai opponent Buttree Puedpong get a warning penalty.

She took the lead into round 2, and in the third round, her furious attacks made Buttree almost give up counterattacks, which led to another warning penalty for inactivity and finally an one-point reduction. Wu sealed the match 1-(-1).

The responsive fans made countdowns in the last six seconds and roared to the newly-crowned who burst into tears.

The 21-year-old reigning world champion won the preliminary round and quarterfinals both with a seven-point advantage.

She stepped into an intense competition with old rival Yang Shu-chun of Chinese Taipei, who beat her at the Asian championships in April.

Although Wu took a two-point lead from the beginning as she successfully loaded an axe kick on Yang's head, Yang kept making defensive kicks and managed to get one point in the second round.

However, Yang failed to score more points in rest of the game and was defeated by Wu 1-4.

By winning the silver, Buttree, 18, made a breakthrough in Thailand's Olympic history of taekwondo events as the country's past best achievement was Yaowapa Boorapolchai's bronze at Athens Games.

"I will continue to practise Taekwondo and improve in order to be better at the next Olympic Games," Buttree said.

Yang Shu-chun lost her last opportunity to get a bronze as she lost the repechage game to Cuban Daynellis Montejo, who settled for the bronze together with Dalia Contreras Rivero of Venezuela.

According to a rule newly introduced at Beijing Olympics, losers to the finalists can play in the repechage to compete for two bronze medals.

In men's 58kg class event, Mexican Guillermo Perez claimed the title with superiority ruled by referees, winning his country first gold at Beijing Olympics.

The 29-year-old said the President of Mexico called him and said "you are the pride of our country". "Finally my dream came true," he said.

Perez, silver medalist of 2007 world championships, entered the final relatively easier than 28-year-old Dominican Yulis Gabriel Mercedes, who forced his way into the final after intense competitions against defending champion Chu Mu-yen of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals and world champion Juan Antonio Ramos in the semifinals.

The two Latin Americans finished their regular three rounds with 1-1. The referees voted to give the gold to Perez after the extra-time during which both of them failed to score.

Perez said the opponent was very strong."He fought very aggressively and he moved very quickly," he said, adding that Mercedes' tactics were also very good.

Although being disappointed by the silver a little bit, Mercedes said he's happy because the final was between two Latin American countries.

"I'm proud for the Mexican gold medalist. It's a match of high quality and both of us are really good," he said.

Rohullah Nikpai of Afghanistan beat Ramos in repechage, winning his country the first Olympic medal. Chu beat Chutchawal Khawlaor of Thailand to share the bronze with Nikpai.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 45 14 20 79
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 10 36
4 Russia 13 14 18 45
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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