Thailand underscores its talent in taekwondo with a gold medal
Banlung “Yu” Tabtimdang, a young but stellar taekwondo athlete, handed Thailand another gold medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games on Tuesday after defeating his Iranian opponent, becoming the sport’s first male gold medalist for the country in more than a decade.
The 18-year-old's road to glory commenced with a victory over Nepal’s Gobinda Bahadur Ale in the round of 16 with a score of 2-0, followed by a 2-1 triumph over Taiwan’s Liang Yushuai in the quarterfinal.
Banlung, who took second place in the rankings of the world’s young players in 2022, overcame the host nation’s fighter Liang Yushuai with a 2-0 round in the semi-final.
In the men's under-63 kg weight class final, Alireza Hosseinpour of Iran fell short against Thailand with scores of 6-7, and 7-11 in two rounds.
With the triumph, Banlung became the first male taekwondo athlete in 13 years to win a gold medal at the Asian Games and the second in history after Chutchawal “Max” Khawlaor won the 2010 competition in Guangzhou, China.
Chutchawal is now a member of Banlung’s training team.
The victorious Thai told a reporter that he is hoping to go further as he has the chance to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
He said that he gave his finest shot in every match and that he tried to follow his coaches' instructions while competing.
“I would like to give this gold medal to myself and Thai fans, my family, the Taekwondo Association of Thailand, and to everyone.”
Thailand currently has two gold medals from taekwondo; the other one coming from taekwondo hero Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit who defeated her Chinese opponent in a controversy-packed final on Monday.
She made a miraculous comeback with just 66 seconds to go.
Thailand has won five gold medals as of the time of publication.