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Tseng claims bronze in taekwondo event, 2nd medal for Taiwan
Publication Date : 11-08-2012
Taekwondo athlete Tseng Li-cheng Thursday won a bronze medal in the women's under 57-kilogram event after beating her Finnish counterpart in a lopsided victory, giving Taiwan its long-waited second medal of the London Games.
Tseng, 25, took an early lead, scoring the first point against Suvi Mikkonen just eight seconds after the opening round had kicked off.
With her trademark aggressiveness, Tseng — the competition's top-seeded entrant — enjoyed a comfortable 5-0 lead at the end of the first round.
The Taiwanese aboriginal athlete from the eastern county of Taitung kept up her fierce attacks in the second round. She scored another 7 points to open a double-digit lead, as her European counterpart proved to be no match for her.
Eager to claim her hard-fought medal, Tseng wasted no time in the third and final round, needing only 24 seconds to add 2 more points, extending her lead to a match-winning 12 points and sending her rival home empty-handed.
The bronze is Taiwan's second medal at these Olympics and could very likely be its last. Playing under the name “Chinese Taipei”, Taiwan now has one silver and one bronze.
Right after winning the bronze, Tseng and her coach held the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag and did a lap of the taekwondo arena to celebrate the joyful moment as the capacity crowd gave a standing ovation.
“I did my best in the competition because I had nothing to lose,” Tseng told Taiwanese media with a big smile on her face following her third-place finish.
The bronze-medal decider was her final matchup at the London Games. Tseng said she had done her utmost, even though she could only bag a bronze and not the gold she had originally hoped for.
Earlier in the day, Tseng lost to Jade Jones of Britain 6-10 in a tense semifinal. Jones later defeated China's Hou Yuzhuo 6-4 in a cagey final to bag the UK's first-ever Olympic gold medal in the combat sport.
This is Tseng's first Olympics and could very well be her last.
Asked if she would compete at Rio 2016, Tseng didn't give a direct answer, but said she would like to see the next generation of athletes take her place in four years.
Back in Taiwan, Tseng's father — who closely followed his daughter's every match on TV — said his daughter's bronze medal is the best Father's Day present he could hope for. Father's Day in Taiwan falls on August 8.
President Ma Ying-jeou also sent a message to Tseng congratulating her on the bronze medal.