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Gold winners speaks highly of Olympic taekwondo pre-Olympic event

Updated:2008-02-26 From:Xinhuanet

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's Wu Jingyu and Spain's Gonzalez Joel said highly of the Olympic venue after winning the women's 49kg and men's 58kg division respectively at an Olympic taekwondo test event on Tuesday.

The "2008 Good Luck Beijing" International Taekwondo Invitational Tournament, which has drawn 128 athletes from 27 countries and regions, the same number of athletes for the Olympics, opened this morning at the Gymnasium of the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB).

"I feel comfortable with the new venue and atmosphere here," said the 21-year-old Wu after gaining the first gold for the host.

In the evening's women's 49kg final, the world champion in 2007 showed no hesitation as she attacked more aggressively than her Swedish counterpart.

Though the Swede leveled the score 1-1 in the second set, Wu took a decisive two points by kicking her opponent's head in the mid of the final set. Then the Chinese never looked back and extended the lead to 5-1 at the whistle, overcoming the European championship runner-up with an overwhelming advantage.

"My opponents must have had a thorough research on me as they were all familiar with my attacking techniques and put up a serious challenge," Wu said after the championship bout.

"However, I performed steadily in the third set after readjusting my strategy and mood at the interval," the winner added.

The bronze medal of this class was shared by Gonda Ivett from Canada and China's Zhou Zhuohui.

While in the men's 58kg arena, Spain's Gonzalez Joel, who had never reached the podium in international or national event, claimed his maiden title at the men's 58kg class by beating Lizardo John Paul of the Philippine 2-(-1).

The 17-year-old Spaniard attributed his success to the world class gymnasium and warm atmosphere. "The venue here is amazing and the audience are also very polite and friendly, which were a combined motivation for my victory," said the beaming young winner after the match.

Having survived a breathtaking 5-4 "sudden death" bout against Japan's Uchimura Kengo in the semifinals, the in-form Spaniard rallied to down the favorite Lizardo John Paul by scoring two crucial points in the third set.

The 22-year-old Filipino, silver medalist at the 2006 Asian championships, failed to challenge the solid defence of Joel after two penalties were whistled on him.

"It was an easy final tonight as my opponent didn't pose any threat. In fact, the preliminary in the morning was more difficult," said Joel.

In the third-place playoffs earlier, Japan's Uchimura Kengo and China's Pei Guangqi downed their opponents to share the bronze medal.

As the venue for the Olympic judo and taekwondo competition in August, the USTB gymnasium embodies both power and exquisite beauty with ruby red metal-light.

Besides the Olympic events, the gymnasium will also hold wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby in the Paralympics. It has a floor area of 24,662 square meters with 8,012 seats.

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