Wu Jingyu from China claimed the women's 49kg taekwondo title at the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday, beating Buttree Puedpong from Thailand in the final.
Wu Jingyu (blue)
It's the first time for China to win this class since the taekwondo events were included into the Olympic program at Sydney Games.
"I have been waiting for this day for a long time," she said.
With the deafening cheers from home fans, Wu launched aggressive attacks as soon as the final began and scored one point with a side kick and made the opponent get a warning penalty.
She took the lead into round 2, and in the third round, her furious attacks made Buttree almost give up counterattacks, which led to another warning penalty and finally a one-point reduction.
The responsive fans shouted countdowns in the last six seconds and roared to the newly-crowned champion who burst into tears.
"I'm very excited now," she said, adding that she stayed calm in every match she competed in on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old won the preliminary round and quarterfinals both with a seven-point advantage. She stepped into an intense competition with old rival Yang Shu-chun of Chinese Taipei, who beat her at the Asian championships in April.
Although Wu took a two-point lead from the beginning as she successfully loaded an axe kick on Yang's head, Yang kept making defensive kicks and managed to get one point in the second round. However, Yang failed to score more points in the rest of the bout and was defeated by Wu with 4-1.
"It's not as difficult as I had imagined," Wu said.
She said the fact that she was defeated by Yang didn't cast shadow on her.
"I am never afraid of any opponent and the only thing in my mind was to beat her," she said.
With the victory against Yang, it seemed the final is not a big deal for her.
Cui Dalin, deputy chef de mission of the Chinese delegation, who watched the final match and hugged Wu in the mixed zone, said she made a good performance.
He said Chinese athletes who compete in the last part of the Games will be under greater pressure.
"They want to make good performance as the others have already done well," he said.
By winning the silver, Buttree, 18, made a breakthrough in Thailand's Olympic history of taekwondo events as the country's past best was Yaowapa Boorapolchai's bronze at Athens Games.
"I will continue to practise taekwondo and improve in order to be better at the next Olympic Games," Buttree said.
Yang Shu-chun lost her last opportunity to get a bronze as she lost the repechage game to Cuban Daynellis Montejo, who settled for the bronze together with Dalia Contreras Rivero of Venezuela.
Yang cried after losing the match and still couldn't hold her tears in the mixed zone. In the men's 58kg event, her boyfriend Chu Mu-yen failed to retain the Olympic title and finished with a bronze.
Chu said Yang also enjoyed competing at the Olympics.
"She is not going to retire as I am, so she may have another chance at a medal," he said.
According to a rule newly introduced at Beijing Olympics, losers to the finalists can play in the repechage to compete for two bronze medals.
The bronze medals went to Dalia Contreras Rivero from Venezuela and Daynellis Montejo from Cuba.