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Chen Wraps up China's Gold Rush with 32nd Gold
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China's Chen Zhong delivered Chinese delegation a perfect happy ending Sunday, winning its 32nd and final gold at the Athens Games in defending her Olympic title in taekwondo women's over 67kg class.

Chen, in Athens, repeated her feat of bringing one more gold to the glory of the sports powerhouse on the final day at Sydney 2000when she made history by claiming the delegation's first ever Olympic taekwondo gold.

Capping four days of the Olympic taekwondo competitions, Moon Dab Sung of South Korea Sunday clinched the gold in men's over 80kg category in Athens after knocking out Alexandros Nikolaidis of Greece with one minute left in the first round.

In the women's final, the 21-year-old Chen beat Myriam Baverel of France 12-5. Baverel, a 23-year-old German language teacher, finished second in the middle weight 67-72kg at the World Championships 2003, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

"I'm delighted to win this gold," an exciting Chen told reporters. "I've invested much more effort into winning this consecutive title at Olympics."

Chen was injured on foot in the third round of the final and tumbled on the platform at one point.

"That (injury) didn't have much effects on my performances," Chen said. "I held on to win the match."

The bronze went to Adriana Carmona of Venezuela in beating Natalia Silva of Brazil 7-4.

"I've worked very very hard for this medal and I spend a lot of time training," Carmona said. "This medal is for Venezuela and my family."

In the final, Chen employed a tactic of striking later to expand her winning turf, scoring two points in round one, four points in round two and six in three.

She waved the Chinese national flag to the cheering spectators in the Sports Pavilion, the Olympic competition venue, after hugging her coach, Chen Liren, in exaltation.

Earlier the day, Chen kept her winning run by defeating Silva of Brazil 8-5 in semifinal and Adriana Carmona of Venezuela 7-5 in quarterfinal.

During the semifinal, Chen, who earned her Olympic gold in the same category in Sydney, fought a close round one but prevailed in round two and three, scoring one points, four points and three points, respectively.

At one point in round three, the 30-year-old Silva struck Chen's head and earned a much coveted two points. But Chen's later strong showing proved that was only a temporary surprise.

In the quarterfinal, Chen kept a steady pace throughout the three rounds and prevailed, scoring two points in round one, two points in round two and four in three.

But she had one point deducted after receiving two kyong-gos (warning penalties).

Chen defeated Yoriko Okamoto of Japan 7-5 to progress into the quarterfinal earlier Sunday.

In the men's over 80kg final, with just 50.6 seconds to go in the first round, Moon quickly kicked Nikolaidis with a roundhouse to the body after the two had tactically moved around without scoring until the kick from Moon.

"I'm happy that I managed to beat an opponent like Nikolaidis in front of such a passionate crowd," Moon told reporters.

"The moment when my opponent was not so focused on his defense, since he was attacking, was when I made the crucial blow," he added.

When Nikolaidis came to his senses, he was overcome with what had happened.

"It was a tough moment when he made the kick," said Nikolaidis. "Unfortunately I didn't block him."

"I'm disappointed because I knew all Greeks wanted me to win this gold medal," he added. "I trained hard for it, so right now, I cannot be happy with the silver medal."

The bronze went to Pascal Gentil of France, who defeated Ibrahim Kamal of Jordan 6-2.

"The bronze medal wasn't exactly what I wanted from this tournament," Gentil said. "But it is still an Olympic medal and it's very important."

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2004)

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