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2020 Tokyo Olympics

Pauline Lopez suffers OQT heartbreak anew

Pauline Lopez’s Olympic hopes will have to wait for three more years.

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games champion bowed out of contention for a place in this year’s Tokyo Olympics after suffering a 10-21 defeat from the hands Lebanon’s Laetitia Aoun in the women’s minus-57 kg quarterfinals of the 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament at Kempinski Hotel in Amman, Jordan, Saturday.

Lopez trailed early in the opening round, but a swift kick to the Lebanese’s head knotted the count at three after the first two minutes of the bout.

In the second stanza, Lopez finally gained the upper hand after a well-timed kick hit Aoun’s head once more for a 6-3 advantage. That turned out to be her last hit.

Two consecutive head kicks from Aoun for a 10-6 lead at the end of the second round proved to be a warning as she took the momentum heading into the final round.

The match was pretty tight before a flurry of kicks from the Lebanese connected in the third and final round, pushing the lead to 15-10.

Penalties from Lopez compounded the situation. Aoun eventually took the seat to the semifinals and a chance for a berth to the Tokyo Games.

Four years ago, Lopez lost a close one in the semifinals of the qualifiers held here in the Philippines. Thailand’s Phannapa Harnsujin booked the ticket to the Rio Games at her expense, 5-2.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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