Taekwondo star proves miracles do exist after beating China to Asian Games gold
Taekwondo star Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit defeated her Chinese opponent in a controversy-packed final to hand Thailand its first gold medal of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday.
The top-seeded Thai overcame a 6-0 deficit in the deciding round to beat seventh-ranked Guo Qing in the women's 49kg.
The 26-year-old from Surat Thani powered into the lead with a 7-1 win in the first round, but Guo levelled the match by edging the second 2-1.
Controversy erupted in the final round after the Chinese fighter took a 6-0 lead and then the score suddenly surged to 23-0. Thailand's head coach, Choi Young-seok protested to the judges and after roughly 15 minutes of review, the score was restored to 6-0. The referee explained the surge had been due to a technical problem.
But with only a minute and six seconds left in the bout, Panipak still needed a miracle to take the gold. She found one in the form of four consecutive head kicks that catapulted her into a 12-6 lead. Guo managed to claw back another three points before Panipak clinched the decider 12-9.
The victorious Thai said she fought fiercely to the end but this would be her last Asian Games.
“I never expected to win after the score was 23-0,” she said.
“I was shocked … I have never seen anything like this,” she commented about the scoreboard surge.
“I reminded myself that there was still a minute to go and that in the past, with just seconds to go, I had notched up as many as 10 points. So I convinced myself that I still had time to make the most of it. I decided that I don’t give a damn if I lose,” she said.
Pannika now has two Asian Games gold medals, following her success in Indonesia in 2018.