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Bhandari wins India's first medal in taekwondo

Surendra Bhandari won India's first medal in taekwondo by clinching a bronze in the flyweight (58-kg) category Friday.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2002 20:53 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Surendra Bhandari won India's first medal in taekwondo in the 14th Asian Games by clinching a bronze in the flyweight (58-kg) category here today.

The 17-year-old Bhandari's achievement is all the more creditable as the government had not cleared the taekwondo team.

Bhandari won three rounds before losing to Behzad Khodadad of Iran in the semi-finals to finish with the bronze.

Earlier, the youngster from Uttar Pradesh trained by two Koreans fought his way into the semifinals scoring superb wins in the preliminary rounds before losing to Khodadad in the semi.

Bhandari showed his class against Kumar Bahadur Karki of Nepal in the second round winning the three-round bout 3-0.

He faced a stiff challenge in the third round against Hamood Aqlan of Yemen and had to fight hard before winning on technical superiority.

Both the fighters were tied 3-3 at the end of the three rounds before Bhandari was declared the winner. After taking the first round 3-0, the Yemenese won the second with a 2-0 scoreline and the third round ended in a 1-1 tie.

However, in the semi, Bhandari despite showing lot of thrust in his kicks conceded three points in the first round itself to the Iranian.

Bhandari, egged on by the Indian team members, tried a waiting game and also scored a point towards the end of the second round with a kick.

But Khodadad settled the issue in the next round scoring another point. The young Indian can, however, take heart from the fact that he did not concede any minus points in any of his bouts and also proved his fighting qualities.

With the government not clearing the ten member squad including three women, the Taekwondo Federation of India paid from its own pocket for the participation of the team trained by two Koreans Dong Hyun Kim and Hong Jo Kim.

The Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent, Jagdish Tytler, could not clarify whether the team was cleared by the government.

First Published: Oct 11, 2002 20:43 IST