Olympics-Taekwondo-Heartache for South Korea as Olympics jinx follows Lee

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Taekwondo - Men's Featherweight 58-68kg - Last 16 - Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, Japan - July 25, 2021. Ulugbek Rashitov of Uzbekistan and Lee Dae-Hoon of South Korea react after competing REUTERS/Murad Sezer

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - Top-ranked taekwondo champion Lee Dae-hoon lost in the first match of his final Olympics on Sunday, dashing South Korea's best hope for a gold medal in the national sport it once dominated.

Lee has won a trove of gold medals including three world championships and a record 12 Grands Prix, but the Olympic trophy has eluded him. He won silver in London 2012 and bronze in Rio four years later.

"It's my last Olympics so I wish I could have done better," he said. "I was well in my body and mind but my management of the fight could have been better; I was successful at the beginning but then I felt rushed."

A 29-year-old father of a toddler, Lee said nerves also got in the way on the Olympic stage. South Korea has won a record 12 Olympic gold medals in taekwondo but no longer dominates the sport, which has athletes from 61 countries and territories, plus the Refugee Olympic Team, represented in Tokyo.

"Since the Olympic Games are really big, maybe I felt more pressure."

Popular in the taekwondo circle - he has won the peer-voted "Player of the Year" award more times than any other athlete - Lee said he was satisfied as an athlete, even as he wished for a different result as he prepares to retire.

His loss on Sunday, to Uzbek Ulugbek Rashitov, ranked 17th in the world, added another upset to a tournament loaded with surprises since it kicked off on Saturday.

Tied at the end of the three two-minutes rounds, Lee conceded a body kick to Rashitov in the "golden round", where the first to score automatically wins. As an ecstatic Rashitov jumped up and down pumping his fists, Lee crouched onto his hands and knees, head on mat.

The South Korean has a chance to return in the repechage stage if his Uzbek opponent advances to the finals.

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Others

Sport-Charity launches campaign to tackle dementia on World Alzheimer's Day
Climbing-Boulder and Speed World Cup in Seoul cancelled due to COVID-19
Climbing-Global group apologises to Austrian climber for 'objectification' in broadcast
Triathlon-World sprint and relay championships in Bermuda cancelled due to COVID
Former StarSport journalist Ronnie gone, but not forgotten
Veteran sports writer Ronnie Oh breathes his last
Former Vikings OT Steve Riley dies at 68
Six-time Pro Bowl DT Roger Brown dies at 84
Motor racing - Red Bull blame Verstappen's slow Monza pitstop on FIA change
Doping - CAS suspends Latvia's Rastorgujevs for 18 months for whereabouts failures

Stories You'll Enjoy