Thai taekwondo fighters had mixed fortunes on Wednesday with Chanatip Sonkham thrashing Guatemala's Elizabeth Zamora Gordillo 8-0 in the bronze-medal match to hand Thailand the second Olympic medal while Pen-Ek Karaket had no such luck, returning home em
Chanatip, Pen-Ek and Rangsiya Nisaisom were medal hopefuls in the top-flight competition. In the women’s 49kg division, Chanatip, the 21-year-old from Phatthalung, a bronze medallist at the 2010 Asian meet, made a splendid debut in the Olympics by overwhelming Russia’s Kristina Kim 13-1 in the first round.
She continued her dazzling form in the quarter-finals, stunning second-seeded Yang Shu-Chun 6-0. The Taiwanese had been regarded as a strong contender in the class after she captured the Asian title this year and won second place in the World Championships last year.
Brigitte, 32, counter-attacked in the third round. She produced an exceptional roundhouse kick to the head of Chanatip, which got her four points to tie at 6-6. Chanatip kicked back, to her rival’s head, to score three points, but it was an effort that went in vain.
Brigitte fought hard in the closing seconds, landing a decisive blow to win the bout 10-9 and break the Thai’s dream of reaching the final.
“She told me she would do her best to win at least a bronze medal in London and that would be a present for me. I’m glad she kept her promise by accomplishing her target. No matter what colour the medal is, it’s always important to Thai people,” Nutchaya said.
Despite the defeat, the Thai had a chance of competing in the repechage and fighting for a bronze. Lee kept Pen-Ek’s high hopes alive by taking on top-seed and defending champion Joel Gonzalez Bonilla from Spain in the final showdown. Lee went down 17-8 to Gonzalez.
Pen-Ek left the arena with disappointment writ large on his face. Yesterday, world champion Rangsiya Nisaisom, the third and last fighter in the Thai camp, suffered a first-round loss 4-1 in the women’s 57kg division to top-seeded Tseng Li-Cheng from Taiwan.
Rangsiya badly needed Tseng to continue her winning streak to the final in order that the Thai could make amends in the repechage.