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  Taekwondo
Iran's Hadi Defends Olympic Title on 3rd Day of Olympic Taekwondo Competition
Iran's Hadi Saei Bonehkohal (right) delivers a foot attack to his opponent Mauro Sarmiento of Italy in the men's -80kg final match on the third day of the taekwondo competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing, China on Aug. 22, 2008. Saei Bonehkohal defended his Olympic gold medal.

Iran's Hadi Saei Bonehkohal defended his Olympic title on the third day of the taekwondo competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 22, 2008.

Iranian Saei Bonehkohal, the bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, brushed aside a stiff challenge from Italy's Mauro Sarmiento in the men's -80kg final match to clinch the gold medal.

"I feel very good because I trained very hard last year. I didn't go home, I was always at training camps," Saei Bonehkohal said after the victory ceremony. "I was here only for the gold medal."

The bronze medal in the men's division went to the United States' Steven Lopez and China's Zhu Guo. Steven Lopez was the gold medalist both at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

In the women's -67kg category, Korea's Hwang Kyung-seon outpointed her final opponent Karine Sergerie of Canada to win the gold medal.

Hwang was the gold medalist at the 2005 and 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Championships.

"I got the injury when I fought Sandra Saric of Croatia (in a quarterfinal match). My left knee hurt badly and I felt so upset," Hwang said after winning the gold medal. "Because I was so hurt, I couldn't concentrate on my game when I fought Gwladys Patience Epangue of France in the semifinal match. I even thought about giving up, but I kept going and fortunately I won."

Hwang faced with H. H. Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum, the princess of Dubai and a former karate athlete, in her first match.

She said of the princess, "Although she doesn't have a lot of experience, she did pretty well today. I felt so happy to fight against a princess. I think as a princess, it's hard for her to train as a taekwondo player. I respect her a lot."

France's Gwladys Patience Epangue, the first placer at the WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament, and Croatia's Sandra Saric, the third placer at the WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament, shared the bronze medal in the women's division.

In the morning, Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise visited the taekwondo venue to watch four taekwondo matches for about one hour together with WTF President Chungwon Choue. The Princess Royal showed her great interest in the Olympic sport of taekwondo.

The fourth and final day of the taekwondo competiton on Aug. 23 will feature the women's over 67kg category and the men's over 80kg category.




 

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