A Filipino has defeated a Korean in taekwondo.
Pauline Lopez added another title to her name after holding off defending Asian Games and Asian Championship titlist Lee Ah-reum of Korea, 8-6, to claim the gold in the -57 kg women’s division, Wednesday at the Marriott Convention Center Grand Balrooom, Pasay City.
After the Filipina lost the Olympic berth in the semifinal of the Qualification Tournament last Sunday, she shared that she would turn her focus on the Asian Championship. “I still have the Asian Championship to work on,” she said that day.
This focus was evident all throughout her campaign during the final day of the Asian Championships. Lopez repeated over Malaysian Nurul Farah Alisa Roslan, 4-1, in the Round of 16. She then followed this up with come-from-behind quarterfinals victory over Thailand’s Sae-Lao Thanapa, 4-1, to secure a podium finish for the Philippines.
Lopez continued to show up with intensity in the semifinals against a former World youth champion in Iran’s Mahsa Jeddi. The Iranian started off the scoring in the first round but Lopez connected on two punches in the second round to grab the momentum. Trailing by a point in the dying seconds, the 19-year-old found an opening for a jumping turning 45 that gave her three points and a place in the final.
It was a similar story in the gold medal match. Lee snatched a point off a kick in the first round; only for Lopez to pick up her game in the following round. The reigning SEA Games champion tied the bout at 3 after Lee was given a second warning penalty before firing off an axe kick to pull away. Another kick to the body placed Lopez up, 7-3.
The Korean attempted to a last-gasp effort after connecting on two kicks to cut the deficit to two, 6-8. However, it was too late as the match ended with Lopez walking away with gold around her neck and the Asian title: ending a 17-year-old championship drought for the country.
After winning the gold, Lopez was overwhelmed and said, “I feel so surreal right now. I said [last Sunday], ‘God has a plan, and this is His plan.” She then added, “This is a step [on Road] to Tokyo.” The newly crowned Asian champion attributed her win to everyone who supported her and gave her words of encouragement.
Earlier in the day, the three other Fiipino jins ended their campaign abruptly after dropping their assignments.
De La Salle University jins Benjamin Keith Sembrano and Shanelle Romuar lost their first matches. Sembrano succumbed to Iranian Alireza Aliyari in the Round of 32 in the men’s -68 kg, while Romuar narrowly lost Vietnam’s Thi Hang Pham, 2-3, in the Round of 16 in the women’s -62 kg.
Eddtone Lumasac did better and reached the quarterfinal after edging out Syria’s Ghanem Mohammad in the Round of 16 in the men’s -74 kg. However, in the last eight, the Asian Championships rookie could not hold off Kazakhstan’s Yerzhan Abylkas, 9-8.
Photo by Martin San Diego of Fullcourtfresh.com