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Wednesday January 4, 2012

Injury scuppers Elaine’s Olympic dreams and may force her to retire

PETALING JAYA: This is definitely not a very happy new year for taekwondo exponent Elaine Teo.

The 30-year-old former Asian Games bronze medallist may be forced into premature retirement due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee.

Elaine tore her ACL while competing at the Asian taekwondo qualifiers for the London Olympics in Bangkok last month and is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

The surgery will surely end her hopes of competing at the London Olympics in August as she will need to go through a long rehabilitation period.

Bad luck: Elaine Teo (right) injured her knee while competing in the Asian taekwondo qualifiers for the London Olympics in Bangkok last month.

She is the most experienced member of the national taekwondo team, having represented the country since 1999.

Elaine, who made her SEA Games debut with a gold in Brunei that year, was disappointed to bow out this way.

“I’ve had the injury for some time now and Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz (chief executive officer of the National Sports Institute) advised me to go for surgery earlier so that I can continue fighting,” said Elaine.

“But I put off the surgery as I wanted to try and qualify for the London Olympics.

“I only managed to finish fourth but the worst part was that I tore my meniscus and ACL.

“I will have to go for surgery and I will need about six to seven months of rehabilitation.

“There’s no way I can go to the Olympics. I will probably have to quit as well ... unless there is someone coming up in my weight division for the next SEA Games,” added Elaine, who represented the country at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.

She also holds the distinction of being the only taekwondo exponent to have won the National Sportswoman Award in 2004.

Asked about her plans, Elaine, who competes in bantamweight category, revealed that she was keen to go into coaching “provided there is a place for me in the national set-up”.

“I love taekwondo and I hope to share my experience and knowledge gained over the years,” she said.

Elaine skipped the recent Indonesia SEA Games to prepare for the Asian qualifiers in Bangkok, where she missed out on a place for the London Olympics after finishing fourth.

Only the top three finishers made the cut.

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