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Lim snatches gold in Copenhagen

Korean men come top ahead of Iran, Turkey in taekwondo tourney

Oct 20,2009
Lim Su-jeong of Korea lands a kick to the face of her opponent, Zhang Hua of China, in the women’s 62-kilogram division final match early yesterday at the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. [YONHAP]
Korea’s top female taekwondo star did not disappoint on the final day of competition at the 2009 World Taekwondo Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lim Su-jeong defeated Zhang Hua of China in the final of the women’s 62 kilogram (136.7 pounds) division by 10-8 at the Ballerup Super Arena early yesterday.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist was favored to win her division and she cruised through the early rounds. In the semifinals, Lim showed an impressive display of three kicks to the face as she defeated Estefania Hernandez of Spain by 9-5.

The final match against Zhang proved to be much tougher as Lim trailed until the end of the second round. Trailing 8-7, Lim landed a right kick square on her opponent’s face to earn three points to win the match 10-8.

The 23 year old has now won at every major competition including at the 2002 Asian Games and 2007 Universiade Games.

Kim Joon-tae, competing in the men’s 71-kilogram division added a gold medal. Kim’s toughest foe came in the semifinals as he faced Mark Lopez of the U.S. Kim trailed early but came back with kicks to the body and facial area to take the match by 7-5. He bested Canada’s Maxime Potvin in the finals, 5-2.

The Korean men managed to earn three gold medals and finished first over Iran and Turkey while the female team finished second overall behind China with two gold medals.

The tournament’s Most Valuable Player honors went to American Steven Lopez, who won his fifth consecutive world title, and Brigitte Yague of Spain.

The WTF will have to continue to work to improve its officiating now that it has invested in changes to the rules, electronic body protectors and video replay, which were introduced to cut down complaints and controversies.

The men’s 63-kilogram division featuring Korea’s Yeom Hyo-seob and Reza Naderian of Iran left many fans irate.

Yeom was trailing 2-1 midway through the second round when the judge gave three points to Yeom for a kick to the face that did not connect. Iran requested a video replay but the referee refused. Then in the third round, with Yeom ahead by a point, the referee accepted team Korea’s request for a video replay and took away a point from the Iranian fighter.

Despite the still problematic officiating issue, World Taekwondo Federation officials seemed pleased with the tournament.

“These World Championships are the biggest in history. Over 1,000 participants, five courts, the new electronic body protectors, and the video replay. This is a truly fantastic World Championships. We are making history,” Chakir Chelbat, vice president of the WTF referee’s committee was quoted as saying.




By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]



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