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Hoai Thu's HCM City silver earns Olympic berth

Update: December, 02/2007 - 00:00

Hoai Thu’s HCM City silver earns Olympic berth

(03-12-2007)

HA NOI — Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu surprised everyone when she won a ticket to compete at next August’s Beijing Olympics by grabbing a silver medal from the Asia Zone’s qualifying round, which concluded in HCM City last Friday.

Thu, who came to the tournament wanting to gain more experience, met with hardly any difficulties to beat Kirstie Elaine of the Philippines 3-1 in the first round of the women’s under-57kg category, which drew 15 rivals.

In the second round, the martial artist eliminated Cosette Basbous from Lebanon with two powerful kicks, winning 4-0.

Basbous, who won an Asian Games’ bronze medal last December, left the competition mat teary eyed.

Thu, an Asian Games’ silver medal holder, faced Shueh Fhern Elain Teo of Malaysia in the semi-finals, a decisive match in which a berth to Beijing would be awarded.

During the game, the Vietnamese coach found Teo’s weaknesses and asked Thu to play in counter-attacks, which gave her a narrow win of 4-3 and a silver medal.

In the final, the managers asked Thu to forfeit to ensure that she would not suffer any unexpected injury that would prevent her from fighting at the upcoming SEA Games in Thailand.

After her withdrawal, the tournament title went to Pei Hua Tseng, of Chinese Taipei.

The bronze belonged to Teo, who beat a rival from Tajikistan.

Thu’s ticket is the third for Viet Nam, who were targeted to win just two from this qualifying tournament.

The 16-year-old Hoang Ha Giang took the first one after winning the women’s under-49kg pool. Nguyen Van Hung grabbed the second in the men’s over-80kg class.

After the qualifier, 14 delegations grabbed tickets. Iran, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam took three each. In the Southeast region, Thailand secured two and the Philippines took one.

Based on level of technique and competing style, the organisers presented Samsung Blue Passion awards to Ha Giang and Deepark Bista of Nepal, who were both voted best athletes. They both received an insignia and a Samsung TV. — VNS

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