• Kyodo


Yoriko Okamoto’s quest for a second consecutive Olympic medal came to a quick end as the Sydney Olympic bronze medalist was eliminated after two defeats at the Athens Olympic women’s taekwondo competition Sunday.

Following an eventful pre-Olympic buildup, Okamoto lost 7-5 on points to China’s Chen Zhong in the first round of the 67-kg class and then crashed out with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Venezuelan Adriana Carmona in a repechage match.

“It’s over. What I felt at the end was that I won’t have to warm up for a match any more, Okamoto said. “I may have given it all what I’ve got or I may not. It’s hard to say.”

Okamoto was allowed to compete in Athens as a so-called independent competitor after an internal feud in Japanese taekwondo circles led to the formation of two different national bodies for the sport and left her Olympic berth hanging in the balance.

In April, the Japanese Olympic Committee said it would not allow the participation of any athletes in taekwondo in the Olympics unless the rival bodies formed a unified governing organization for the Korean martial art.

Amid no signs of the two bodies patching up their differences, however, Okamoto received special permission from the JOC for her appearance at the Athens Games.

In the first-round match against Chen, Okamoto fell behind early and her comeback efforts came up two points short.

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