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Wednesday May 21, 2008

Taekwondo: Chew Chan believes she can beat the odds in Beijing

KUALA LUMPUR: Taekwondo exponent Che Chew Chan will have the world's best fighters for company in the Beijing Olympics but she has not discounted her chances of winning a medal.

Chew Chan, who earned the ticket to Beijing as the winner of the Asian qualifiers in Vietnam last December, has her confidence boosted by victory over reigning Olympic champion Luo Wei of China en route to winning a silver medal in the Asian Championships in Henan last month.

Chew Chan: Will undergo a five-week training stint in South Korea next month.

Chew Chan was also a silver medallist in the World University Games in Bangkok last year and took gold in the Korat SEA Games.

“If I perform well and I get a good draw, there is a chance of me beating the odds,” said the 25-year-old, who will compete in the middleweight (below 72kg) category.

“I have beaten some of the exponents and if I fight them in Beijing again, I should be ready for the challenges. I will prepare myself well and hope for the best.”

The four women's events to be contested in Beijing will have 16 exponents each and Chew Chan will need to win three bouts to reach the final, which would assure her of at least a silver medal.

But with two bronze medals awarded in Beijing instead of one previously, Chew Chan felt there is a better chance to get on the rostrum.

“If I am beaten and my opponent eventually reaches the final, I still have a shot at winning a bronze. Previously, your campaign is over if you lose your opening bout,” she said.

To prepare for the challenges in Beijing, Chew Chan and team-mate Elaine Teo will undergo a five-week training stint in Seoul next month.

Elaine will make a second appearance in the Olympics but under a different category – the featherweight (below 57kg). She competed in the flyweight (below 49kg) division in Athens in 2004 but will have to fight in a higher weight class in Beijing because of an error in her entry form for the Asian qualifiers.

Elaine is nursing an injury on her right hand but she is expected to fit again before leaving for Seoul.

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