Curtain closes on Lebanon’s Olympic hopes

BEIRUT: Andrea Paoli capped off Lebanon’s London Games venture Thursday, after the Mont La Salle trainee reached the quarterfinals of the taekwondo featherweight (49-57 kilograms) tournament, before succumbing 5-2 to Taiwanese stalwart and Asian No. 1 Li-Cheng Tseng.

Paoli’s preliminary bout paired her with Cuban Nidia Munoz, and the two debutants began in apprehensive fashion with the first round finishing 0-0.

Round two proved a stark contrast, as Paoli lit her opponent up with an array of defensive and offensive kicks, to eventually close the round with a 3-1 lead.

A kyon-go warning penalty coupled with an offensive Munoz kick threatened to finish the 20-year-old after her lead was cut to 3-2.

Paoli maintained her poise and resolve though after a thunderous defensive kick punctuated the round and contest with a 4-2 scoreline for the Lebanese hopeful, leaving her one win away from medal contention.

Her promising odyssey would unfortunately come to a screeching halt following a strong display from Li-Cheng, who took round one and two 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, to effectively extinguish Paoli’s and Lebanon’s slim hopes for a first Olympic medal since Moscow in 1980.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 10, 2012, on page 14.




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