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Taekwondo juniors take golds

Update: July, 28/2006 - 00:00

Taekwondo juniors take golds

(28-07-2006)

Kickback: Tran Thi Ngoc Truc (above) on the podium with the -49kg gold medal and Hoang Ha Giang (left-right photo) en route to win the -46kg title for Viet Nam at the World Taekwondo Federation Junior Championships in HCM City. — VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HA NOI — Viet Nam’s taekwondo athletes got off to a flying start on home ground in HCM City, claiming two gold medals at the 6th World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Junior Championships’ opening day on Wednesday.

In the championships, which feature new rules meant to encourage fiercer matches, Tran Thi Ngoc Truc and Hoang Ha Giang took the women’s feather weight under-49kg title and bantam weight -46kg, respectively.

Truc, 17, upstaged Thai rival Prapaporn Sangnar 2-0 in the feather weight final on Wednesday to win Viet Nam’s first gold.

Truc and her Thai opponent both entered the game cautiously, not attacking much, with no points scored.

They were deducted a point each in the second round for not actively attacking, under the WTF’s new competition laws, enacted to trigger more fighting.

But the Phu Tho Gymnasium burst into applause late in the third round when Truc scored her second point just seconds before the end, allowing her to win.

"I never thought I would win a gold medal here," said a thrilled Truc. "I just expected to clinch a bronze."

Truc, who was not a favourite because of her inexperience, reached the final in style after beating Croatia’s Marina Sumic 3-2 in the semi-finals, bolstered by her impressive 12-10 victory over South Korean-Canadian title favrourite Yvette Yong.

Giang, the local hope with three years’ training in Chinese Taipei, edged Korean fighter Choi So yeon 1-0 in the third final of the day.

After playing defensively in the first two sets, the 15-year-old Giang surprised her more experienced rival in the third set, taking a hit to score the first point. She continued her control to claim another point and sealed the win only in the last seconds.

Earlier in the day, Bui Van Tuyen won Viet Nam a bronze in the men’s feather weight -55kg. Tuyen had an impressive run, knocking out opponents from Azerbaijan, Spain and Qatar on his way to the semi where he lost to Thailand’s Vasavat Somswang 3-7.

In the previous world youth event in 2004, Vietnamese players won two bronze medals.

The sixth annual tournament, slated to finish on Sunday, features more than 1,000 competitors from 75 countries and territories.

From the WTF’s new regulations, players will play three two-minutes rounds, instead of one three-minute round as before.

And in case of a draw, the two contenders will fight another sudden-death two-minute round, with the win going to the contender to earn the first point.

Under the new rules, a fighter can win by either gaining 12 points first, or being seven points ahead.

Mat dimensions have also been down-sized to encourage more rapid fighting. Each match will be observed by one main referee and four corner referees, one more than before. — VNS

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