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.

Taekwondo star proves miracles do exist after beating China to Asian Games gold

“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.