• Kyodo News

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Sydney Olympics bronze medalist Yoriko Okamoto formally announced her retirement from competitive taekwondo Sunday, promising to continue promoting the sport she loves.

“It takes a lot of support to be an athlete. I want to do my best to repay my debt of gratitude by promoting taekwondo,” said Okamoto, 37, winner of the bronze in the women’s 67-kg category at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Okamoto appeared in three consecutive Olympics starting with her debut in Sydney.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, she was permitted by the Japanese Olympic Committee to compete as an independent competitor, receiving financial assistance from the sports governing body during an internal feud in domestic taekwondo circles.

She came seventh in Athens and made a first-round exit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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