Heart­break for Yaowapa in the fi­nal

The Nation - - SPORT - The Na­tion

Athens Olympics hero­ine Yaowapa Boorapolchai suf­fered a bit­ter loss in the fi­nal of the World Taek­wondo Cham­pi­onships at the hands of her old ri­val Wu Jingyu on the open­ing day in Bei­jing, shat­ter­ing Thai­land’s dream of win­ning their firstever gold in the world meet.

Yaowapa, the odds- on favourite to win the gold for the King­dom in the May 18- 22 world meet, beat Wu in two fi­nals last year, the Asian Cham­pi­onships and the World Cup Team Cham­pi­onships, both on Thai soil.

The dis­ap­point­ing 0-5 loss to Wu, who be­came the first Chi­nese to win Asiad taek­wondo gold in Doha last year, was there­fore a sweet re­venge for the Chi­nese ace.

Yaowapa, the sil­ver medal­list at the Izmir- hosted World Univer­sity Games in Turkey two years ago, per­formed su­perbly in early rounds. Af­ter the firstround bye, she beat Mex­i­can Isis Var­gas 7- 0 be­fore the ref­eree stepped in to stop the onesided con­test in the first round.

She con­tin­ued her re­mark­able form in the third round with a con­vinc­ing 6-1 win over French Tran Em­i­lie to storm into the quar­ter- fi­nals, where she nar­rowly beat Croat Lu­cija Zani­novic 4-3. The Thai fans had some­thing to cheer about when she ad­vanced to the fi­nal fol­low­ing a 2-0 tri­umph over Amer­i­can Char­lotte Craig in the semi- fi­nals.

Wu also proved that her vic­tory in Doha was no fluke, as she tamed Tai­wanese Yang Shuchun, whom she had beaten in the Asiad fi­nal, to take on Yaowapa in the fi­nal show­down. How­ever, the in-form Chi­nese was too strong for the Thai chal­lenger be­fore a home crowd as she landed pow­er­ful kicks to Yaowapa’s body to wrap up the match 5-0.

Though Yaowapa picked up the only sil­ver medal, it was the best re­sult Thai ex­po­nents have ever pro­duced in a world meet. Since the 16th edi­tion in Ger­many four years ago, where Thai­land won their first two bronze medals, Thai fight­ers have never re­turned with medals bet­ter than bronze. Two years ago in Madrid, they won only two bronze medals, from Dech Sut­thikulkarn and Chon­na­pas Premwaew.

The other two Thais, Choothong Pra­song­petch and Luk­samee Yoomunkong, lost in the sec­ond round.

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