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China's Wu retains taekwondo title

Barnaby Chesterman
8 August 2012
China's Wu Jingyu celebrates her victory
China's Wu Jingyu celebrates her victory over Spain's Brigitte Yague Enrique at the end of their women's taekwondo gold medal bout in the category under 49 kg as part of the London 2012 Olympic games, at the ExCel centre in London

Wu Jingyu of China retained her Olympic taekwondo crown with a dominant performance in the women's under-49kg category at London's ExCel Arena on Wednesday.

The twice world champion was always in control of the final against three-time world champion Brigitte Yague of Spain, winning 8-1.

Chanatip Sonkham of Thailand won the first bronze medal as she connected with two head-kicks in the final round to help her beat Elizabeth Zamora of Guatemala 8-0.

Fifth seed Lucija Zaninovic of Croatia took the other bronze medal with a golden point to beat Jannet Alegria of Mexico.

Top seed Wu, 25, was in control of the category all day and never looked like she could lose it. She said she's come a long way since her previous Olympic crown.

"They're different, back in 2008 I was still young and I had a lot of drive," she said. "These last four years have been quite hard on me because I had already won gold.

"I faced a lot of hardship in terms of opponents and the outside world.

"I'm very happy to win another gold this time. I've matured over the last four years and I've been rewarded for the experience I've garnered.

"The biggest reward is that I've become very calm and I'm able to accept hardship."

A three-point head kick in the first round of the final helped her to a 4-0 lead and from there she just eeked out her advantage with single-point kicks to the body.

Before that she was in devastating form and ended her quarter-final and semi-final early on obvious superiority, by accumulating a 12-point lead or more.

First round opponent Zamora made it to the end of her fight, although she was still comfortably beaten 10-2.

The quarter-final against Japan's Erika Kasahara was ended inside the second round as Wu had built up a 14-0 lead in double-quick time.

In the semis, twice European champion Zaninovic failed to make it to the end of the three rounds as she was beaten 19-7.

For Yague it was her first Olympic medal after a first round defeat in Athens and an injury-enforced absence from Beijing.

"I'm happy, it's a dream come true. It's true that I have three world titles but for some reason the Olympic one had always eluded me," she said.

"These Games were my last opportunity because I'm 31 and it's very difficult to maintain that level.

"Winning silver is very important, any medal is good."

Yague produced a stunning last round to beat the seventh-seeded Thai Chanatip in her semi-final.

Trailing 6-2 going into the final round she looked dead and buried but with time running out she levelled the scores at 9-9 with a four-point spinning head kick before nicking victory 10-9 with a sneaky punch.

Earlier she had beaten Carlena Carstens of Panama 7-2 and comfortably out-pointed Alegria 8-0.

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