Women’s under-53kg taekwondo gold medal winner Sarita Phongsri of Thailand (blue) fights with Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu in the final. AFP
A crucial two-point deduction cost Cambodia’s Chhoeung Puthearim dearly as the 21-year-old lost her women’s under-53kg taekwondo bout by the smallest of margins to India’s Latika Bhandari at the Asian Games in Guangzhou yesterday.
A gripping contest for a place in the quarterfinals saw the Cambodian’s strong second round showing well matched by her Indian contestant’s third round performance. With the scores tied after four rounds, Puthearim’s two deductions to Bhandari’s one tilted the scales in the Indian’s favour to record a 11-10 victory.
The Cambodian flag is still fluttering proudly at the Guangdong Gymnasium as Sorn Davin hits the mat tomorrow against Thailand’s Prasopsuk Raptakor, with a women’s under-73kg class medal in sight. A win for the tall and agile Sorn Davin in their quarterfinal on court A will reward her with at least a bronze, which would also assure a cash bounty from the government on her return to the Kingdom. Both Puthearim and Davin had claimed gold medals at a taekwondo meet in Korea two months ago.
Meanwhile, the male contingent of Chhoy Bouthorn and Chan Sovatha are also on combat alert tomorrow. Bouthorn, who was Cambodia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, features in the men’s under-58kg last 16 bout against Wei Chen Yang of Taiwan. Chan Sovatha’s opponent is yet unknown for his under-54kg last 16 bout tomorrow, in what could well prove to be the Kingdom’s day of reckoning at the Asian Games.