OLYMPICS/After bitter loss, persevering Taiwanese takes pride in karate bronze

08/06/2021 08:08 PM
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CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021
CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021

Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) Taiwanese karate star Wen Tzu-yun (文姿云) is known for her competitiveness and perseverance, so the way she was ousted from the Olympics a step short of a gold medal bout may have been hard to accept.

The 27-year-old karateka won bronze in the women's kumite 55kg category at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday after a loss to world No. 1 Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine in the semifinals that was decided by the judges rather than on the mat.

She was visibly distraught when judges granted the victory to Terliuga after a 4-4 tie.

With time to get over the bitter defeat, however, Wen felt happy with her overall performance, and it was certainly timely.

It was Taiwan's first ever Olympic medal in karate and probably its last for the foreseeable future because karate was a special addition to the Olympic program this year rather than a permanent Olympic sport and will not appear in Paris in 2024.

Wen is a seasoned fighter who has won many medals in multiple karate tournaments around the world.

Wen Tzu-yun (right) competes against Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine. CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021
Wen Tzu-yun (right) competes against Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine. CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021

She is a two-time gold medalist in the women's kumite 55kg event at the Asian Games and a two-time bronze medalist in the same category at the World Karate Championships.

Wen also won the gold medal three times in her weight category in the kumite events during the Asian Karate Championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

According to her coach Huang Hao-yun (黃昊昀), Wen is a hardworking athlete with a huge amount of perseverance.

Wen Tzu-yun (front) and her coach Huang Hao-yun give each other a hug after the match. CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021
Wen Tzu-yun (front) and her coach Huang Hao-yun give each other a hug after the match. CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021

In 2013, Wen injured her hip during the gold medal match against then world No. 3 Japanese karateka Miki Kobayashi at the Asian Karate Championships in Dubai, and she eventually lost and settled for silver.

She returned home in a wheelchair.

"It was a serious injury that normally takes more than five months to heal, but she was back on her feet in less than four months," Huang said.

The Taiwanese karateka went on to bag a gold medal at the Asian Games held in South Korea the following year, just months after recovering from her injury.

Huang recalled Wen having once told him that "I may not be the best karateka on the team, but I'm definitely the hardest working."

"Her perseverance is what touches me the most," he said.

Wen explained why. "Whenever there is a sense of accomplishment, you gain the strength and motivation to face the next challenge."

Admittedly, the Taiwanese veteran said she hates to lose.

"Even if it's something as simple as riding a scooter, I don't like to see people pass me," she said.

Thinking back to Thursday's performance in Tokyo, Wen thanked everyone who supported her along the way, especially her family.

Wen Tzu-yun
Wen Tzu-yun's father (standing) and family cheer when watching her fight at home Taiwan. CNA photo Aug. 5, 2021

As to whether there were any regrets from her Olympic experience, the Taiwanese karateka said she would have loved to have won a medal of a different color.

But even with the bronze, Wen said she accepted the outcome for what it was because "this is karate."

"Having a medal around my neck at the Olympics will always be greatest reward in my career as an athlete and something I will cherish for a lifetime," she said.

(By Lung Po-an and Ko Lin)

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