Taiwan’s Lo Chia-ling yesterday clinched the nation’s second medal at the Tokyo Olympics, grabbing a bronze medal in taekwondo in the women’s 57kg class.
Nineteen-year-old Lo beat Niger’s Tekiath Ben Yessouf 10-6 at Tokyo’s Makuhari Messe convention center.
Lo, who is making her first appearance in the Olympic Games, worked her way to the bronze medal contest with an early 20-18 win against South Korea’s Lee Ah-reum in the round of 16, before dropping Canada’s Skylar Park 18-7 in the quarter-final.
It was Anastasija Zolotic of the US who denied the former World Taekwondo Junior Championship gold medalist a chance to fight for an Olympic gold. Zolotic handily won the in the semi-final bout 28-5.
Zolotic went on to secure the gold after defeating Russia’s Tatiana Minina 17-25.
The other bronze for the women’s 57kg class went to Turkey’s Hatice Kubra Ilgun, who downed Iranian defector Kimia Alizadeh 8-6.
Alizadeh — who won bronze in Rio de Janeiro for Iran, but was this year vying for the Refugee Olympic Team’s first-ever medal — earlier shocked two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones in the round of 16, beating the British champion 16-12.
Taiwan’s other medalist, Yang Yung-wei, who took home silver in the men’s 60kg judo on Saturday, yesterday posted a video thanking his fans for their support, adding that he would target gold at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
In the 36-second clip, Yang thanked people for watching his match and cheering him on, saying that he was happy to win Taiwan’s first medal at the Olympics.
Yang said he was a little disappointed because he felt before the match that he had a chance for the gold.
The 23-year-old fell to Naohisa Takato of Japan in the final on Saturday. His second-place finish earned Taiwan its first-ever medal in an Olympic judo competition.
“I think [the loss] will keep me more motivated for the Paris Olympics,” he said.
Yang, who is Paiwan, grew up in a “judo family” in Taichung, with a mother and two brothers who also practice the sport. He started learning judo in the third grade.
His former coach at Shin Min High School, Lin Shih-hsuan, said that Yang was a disciplined and dedicated student who was unafraid of challenges.
Yang was forbidden from having a girlfriend at high school, so he could focus on the sport, Lin said.
Neighbors and friends in Taichung have also been strong supporters.
When Yang was 17, the ward where he lived raised NT$60,000 so he could travel to compete in Lebanon.
To pay it forward, Yang has stayed in touch with his high school, and last summer shared his experiences with judo students there.
He is to talk to the judo students again after the Olympics, the school said.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen said that residents are to discuss a proposal to name a new road in the city Yung-wei Road.
Additional reporting by AP
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