Korea's gold drought ends with Kim So-hui winning gold in taekwondo

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Korea's gold drought ends with Kim So-hui winning gold in taekwondo

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Kim So-hui celebrates after winning Korea's first gold in taekwondo at the Rio 2016 Games on Wendesday.[NEWSIS]

Kim So-hui of Korea finally ended the gold medal drought by taking gold in the women’s 49-kilogram (108-pound) taekwondo match on Wednesday at Carioca Arena 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In the opening day of the taekwondo competition, Kim worked toward the gold medal match by taking down Julissa Diez Canseco Verde of Peru, Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand and Yasmina Aziez of France along the way.

She faced Serbia’s Tijana Bogdanovic in the final bout of the day and routed the Serbian with a final score of 7-6.

In the opening frame, Kim quickly nabbed two back-to-back points to take an early lead, although she gave out a point toward the end to finish the set 2-1.

In the second set, Kim added three points with an offensive kick to Bogdanovic’s head, but she later had to yield a penalty point. The set concluded 5-2.

The Serbian became more aggressive in the third set, trying to narrow the three point deficit. Despite Serbian's relentless attacks, Kim took another point for herself by landing a snap sidekick to the Serbian's body. While Kim’s victory seemed close, the shadow of her accumulated warnings continued to grow, threatening to cost her the game.

Kim gave out three penalty points in the third set alone. By the end of the third set, with less than five seconds to go, the score stood at 7-6. In the final few seconds of the bout, Bogdanovic attacked, taking Kim down as the referee called the end of the game. The Serbian side challenged, arguing that Kim went down before the ref ended the match and thus Kim should receive another warning, which would have forced the match into an extra round, during which the outcome of the match would be decided based on the golden point rule, meaning that whoever gets the first point wins the entire match.

The challenge, however, was rejected, giving Kim and Korea a much anticipated gold medal and helping the nation live up to its reputation as the birthplace of taekwondo.


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]

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