Olympics: Iran grabs Olympic taekwondo gold on day of protests
28 August 04
ATHENS : Iran grabbed their first-ever Olympic taekwondo gold medal while world-leaders South Korea opened their campaign with one title, saying they may have lost another to a scoring mistake by the judges.
Sydney bronze medallist Hadi Saei Bonehkohal narrowly outpointed Taiwan's Huang Chih-Hsiung in the men's under-68kg gold-medal final.
Iran had taken home one bronze medal when the Korean-born combat sport made its debut in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Jang Ji-Won grabbed South Korea's first taekwondo gold medal in Athens by whipping Nia Abdallah of the United States 2-1 in the women's under-57kg featherweight final as the four-day competition crossed halfway point.
It was the first day of action for South Korea, who won three out of the eight golds on offer in Sydney.
The Olympic quota limits each country to four entrants total in a sport that includes four men's and four women's divisions.
South Korea's gold-medal hope Song Myeong-Seob narrowly lost to Saei Bonehkohal in the men's semi-finals by a penalty point slapped on him. The competition arbitration board rejected Song's appeal against the scoring, and he had to fight back through the consolation round to win the bronze.
The day also saw Greece's world champion Areti Athanasopoulou lead a chorus of protests after she lost to Thailand's Nootcharin Sukkhongdumnoen by a decision in the women's first round. Her protest was also rejected.
Saei Bonehkohal, the Sydney Olympics bronze medallist, led Huang 1-0 after the first round.
The Taiwanese, the world champion in the 58-62kg bantamweight, battled back to trail 2-4 at the end of the second.
But the 28-year-old Iranian veteran scored two more points for kicks. But two points were deducted from his score for penalties to win the match 4-3.
In the women's final, Jang scored a one-point kick in the first two-minute round. The 2001 world champion widened the points lead to 4-0 in the second and end the match at 4-1. Two points were taken out from her score due to penalties for passivity.
Mexican Iridia Salazar Blanco, a three-time world silver medallist, beat Sonia Reyes of Spain 3-2 in the play-off for the bronze medal.
Hadi Saei from Iran, displays the gold medal he won in men's under 68kg at Taekwondo, Friday, Aug. 27, 2004, at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)