Reigning Southeast Asian Games champion Pauline Lopez has exited the 2016 Summer Olympics after bowing out in the semifinals against Thailand’s Phannapa Harnsujin, 2-5, Sunday at the Marriott Convention Center Grand Ballroom.
The 19-year-old Lopez bucked a slow start in her first match of the day to pull through with a win. After her opponent, Nurul Farah Alisa Roslan, received second warning penalty, Lopez followed this up with a solid counter to string up two points. Two more kicks to Roslan’s torso sealed Lopez’ progression into the semifinals, 2-4.
In the semifinals, however, Harnsujin connected near Lopez’ face with 23 seconds left in the opening round. Lopez’ corner appealed for a video review, but it was consequently rejected and the 3 points stayed. After a scoreless second round, Lopez tried to be more aggressive; nonetheless, the Thai opponent snuffed her attempts to walk away with the win and Olympic berth with a 5-2 scoreline.
After the match, Lopez was visibly dejected. In her interview, however, the 2013 Asian Youth Games gold medalist accepted the result. “Unfortunately, I did not make it,” she opened. Lopez tried to shake off the head kick awarded to the opponent and even stressed, “It is just the beginning of the fight, I can still return.”
The jin believed that her opponent was strong. “She was challenging, but I think, naunahan niya ko,” she said.
On Monday, the 4th Asian Taekwondo Poomsae follows at the same venue starting at 9:00 am. The Philippine team looks to improve on their fourth-place performance in the previous championship on the strength of 2-2-1 gold-silver-bronze medal tally.
Photo courtesy of Martin San Diego of Fullcourtfresh.com