Chen Shih Hsin won the first Olympic gold medal for Chinese Taipei when she defeated Yuliet Labrada 6-4 to win the women's taekwondo 49kg final at the 28th Olympic Games Thursday evening.
Chen, world champion, burst into tears immediately after she secured the victory.
Chen, who placed first at the Asian Olympic qualifiers, tied 2-2 with Cuban Yuliet Labrada, silver medalist at the 2003 worlds inthe first two-minute round.
The second round saw a more offensive Chen whose flash kicks earned three points for her against one for her opponent. The score was 5-3 in Chen's favor after the second round.
In the third round, both Chen and Labrada gained a point in thefirst 30 seconds. Then Chen kept the 6-4 advantage to the last second with her agile movements.
Chen said, "My toughest opponent is myself. If I can beat myself, I can win any game."
Chen, born in a taekwondo family, started the sport at the age of five. Her talents in the sport gifted her a chance to be a reserve for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics at the age of only 12.
In 1994, Chen became world champion. In 1996, she won another gold medal at the worlds in Brazil. Then the 18-year-old girl suddenly gave up the taekwondo training and wanted to prove her value in other areas.
Having led a two-year hard life, Chen returned as she understood that taekwondo is her most favorite to be relied on.
After taking a gold medal at the Busan Asian Games, Chen began to dream of an Olympic gold medal and she made it today.
At the press conference, smiling Chen also attributed her success today to the cooperation among the taekwondo athletes across the Taiwan Straits.
The Chinese Taipei taekwondo women's team was in Beijing this summer to prepare for the Athens Olympic Games.
"In Beijing, we met many top-class taekwondo athletes, and the joint training helped us a lot," Chen added.
Liu Jingwen, the coach of the Chinese Taipei taekwondo team, said, "We have set the target of at least one gold medal in Athens,Chen made it. I feel so great."
"This is my last time to coach the Olympic team. All of us worked very hard and we got the gold medal," Liu added.
Yaowapa Boorapolchai from Thailand took the bronze, beating Alicia Mora from Colombia 2-1.
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2004)