Thai Yaowapa named as Best Female Athlete
[TAEKWONDO] South Korea won nine gold medals and made a clean weep in the men's and women's teams events yesterday at the Bangkok World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships, while Thai sensation Yaowapa Boorapolchai landed the Best Female Athlete award.
Patiwat Thongsalap, Yaowapa Boorapolchai and Rapatkorn Prasopsuk show their World Cup gold medals.
The South Korean women, who won three gold medals in the first four days, outplayed China 3-2 in the team semi-finals, while the Turkish team brushed aside Sweden 3-2.
In the final, South Korea scored the first three wins to give them the women's team crown. They won a trophy and a cash incentive of Bt149,000, while second-placed Turkey took home Bt112,000.
China beat Sweden in the third-placed play-off.
In a thrilling men's team competition, South Korea overcame a determined challenge from Iran to win the final 4-1.
The South Korean team pocketed Bt149,000, while second-placed Iran took home Bt112,000. France finished third after beating Australia 4-1 in the play-off.
Thailand's men's and women's squads had early exits after losing to Australia and Sweden 3-2 in the opening rounds.
Athens Olympic heroine Yaowapa Boorapolchai, fresh from winning the finweight gold medal on the previous day, and Rapatkorn Prasopsuk, who won a gold medal in the heavyweight division on the first day, had two wins for the women's team.
In the men's event, 20-year-old Patiwat Thongsalap, also fresh from winning the lightweight gold medal two days ago, and Chatchawal Khaola-Or were the two winners for Thailand.
Dr Nat Indrapana, president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand, said he was satisfied with the Thai team's improved form.
"I think our athletes performed beyond expectations in these championships. They are fit both physically and mentally," he said. "They had no pressure taking on much stronger rivals. This might be because they were competing on home soil.
"Our results in the team events were not that good because many had injuries.
"As for our staging of the championships, we, as the organisers, received the thumbs-up from the WTF [World Taekwondo Federation] as we made the tournament a great success."
At the end of the five-day tournament, South Korea finished on top with 13 medals, including nine gold. Thailand finished second with six medals, including three gold. Iran won two gold for third place.
Thai champion Yaowapa was named Best Female Athlete, while the Best Male Athlete was welterweight champion Chang Ha Jang of South Korea.
Thai coach Choi Young Seuk of South Korea won the Best Male Coach award, with the Best Female Coach title going to South Korean Park Sun Mi.