Alexa

'Fighting to death at Olympics an honor': female taekwondo athlete

'Fighting to death at Olympics an honor': female taekwondo athlete

"If I could have fought to the death at the Olympic Games, it would have been an honor, " said Friday Taiwan's outstanding taekwondo athlete Su Li-wen, who continued fighting in three matches in Beijing Thursday despite the serious injuries she suffered in the first match.
She nevertheless warned other athletes that she had "actually set the wrong example" by continuing to compete despite a bone fracture and possibly torn ligaments.
Su was defeated by Croatia's Martina Zubcic 4-5 in the Olympics bronze medal match in the women's 57 kg class.
With an injured left foot, Su surprisingly tied with Zubcic 4-4 after the first three rounds, but lost a decisive point in an extra tie-breaking round.
During the match, Su managed to continue fighting even though she collapsed to the ground several times in obvious pain. In the three matches she fought, she fell a total of 11 times.
Although she failed to win a medal, her perseverance drew praise and cheers from people both in Beijing and Taipei.
Su's perseverance even prompted Chinese critics to criticize China's defending 110-meter hurdles Olympic champion Liu Xiang, who decided to pull out of the event due to pain from an inflamed hamstring, as lacking such spirit.
The doctor for the Taiwan Olympic team, however, said that Su will require surgery to repair her injuries when she returns to Taiwan. She sustained a fracture of the fourth toe of her left foot and possibly torn ligaments in her left knee.
Su said that after she beat Robin Cheong of New Zealand 1-0 in the second match, her coach Lee Dong-wan asked her not to compete in the following bronze medal match.
Lee had warned her that he would throw in the towel if she lagged two points behind her rival, Su disclosed.
During the bronze medal match, Su recalled, she was once two points behind, but soon drew even with her rival because she did not want her coach to throw in the towel, which would signify that she was quitting due to injuries.
"Even if my coach had thrown in the towel, I would have thrown it back," she said.
In the extra round, Su thought she had scored a point when she and her rival exchanged kicks. However, she fell to the ground immediately after the exchange, and upon learning that the point had been given to her rival, she burst into tears.
"It was the first time that I ever cried in an international competition," Su recalled.
Before the competition, the U.S.-based Sports Illustrated magazine described the 27-year-old Su as the only Taiwanese athlete capable of winning a gold for her country.
Su won gold at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok and the 2008 Asian Taekwondo Championship.
Su, who disclosed that she will retire after the Beijing Games, recalled that she could barely stand after the second match, but said she never thought about quitting.
"It would be worth fighting to the death at such a premier event, " she said."I had been working so hard and Taiwan has so many taekwondo athletes. As a veteran, I have the obligation to persist to the end."