Olympic gold medalists Chen Zhong and Luo Wei have expressed their hunger to
beat all comers at the World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing from May 18 to
Sixteen of the nation's best taekwondoists will battle it out with world's
top athletes in the tournament, which will draw almost 1,000 participants from
121 countries and regions.
"I would like to say one
sentence - I will beat whoever is standing in front of me," said a determined
Luo, the Athens Olympic 72kg champion and also the only women taking part to
have competed at the world championships in Spain two years ago.
China's Chen Zhong (left) attacks
France's Myriam Baverel during the women's taekwondo over 67 kg gold medal
match at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in this August 29, 2004 file photo.
The two-time Olympic champion and teammate Luo Wei will lead a 16-member
squad to fight forgolds at the World Taekwondo Championships, which takes
place in Beijing from May 18 to 22. [Reuters]
China's Chen Zhong (left) attacks France's Myriam Baverel during the women's
taekwondo over 67 kg gold medal match at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in this
August 29, 2004 file photo. The two-time Olympic champion and teammate Luo Wei
will lead a 16-member squad to fight forgolds at the World Taekwondo
Championships, which takes place in Beijing from May 18 to 22. Reuters
Luo was also the gold winner at the 2003 World Championships. Her teammate
Chen, a two-time Olympic champion, has yet to win a world championship crown,
and this time she is convinced the +72kg title will be hers.
"I have been working very hard for the event. My only aim here is to win a
gold medal. It is a big test before the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also a rare
chance to compete on home soil. I will be focused on the top of the podium,"
A record 989 athletes will take part in the tournament, including three
Olympic champions and eight champions from the Worlds two years ago.
Among them, Athens 58kg gold medalist Chu Mu-Yen from Chinese Taipei, 68kg
champion Hadi Bonehkohal of Iran and 80kg winner Steven Lopez of US are the
biggest stars in the men's field, while China's Chen-and-Luo-inspired team is
tipped to be the strongest medal contender in the women's competition.
China's taekwondo authorities are optimistic about the women's team's
"I have confidence in the women's team. All eight competitors in the eight
categories are able to at least challenge for a medal finish. The worst result
by a female athlete on this team is a national title. The rest of them are
winners in major international competitions like the Olympics, World
Championships, Asian Games and World Universiade Games," said Zhao Lei, deputy
director of the Taekwondo Administrative Center.
Zhao singled out a budding athlete as a likely dark horse in the tournament.
"Liu Jing is improving rapidly in the 59kg. It is likely we'll see her as a
Liu, 19, was called up by the national team early this year and won the
national crown in April.
But Zhao is concerned about the draw, as some of the best fighters are likely
to duke it out before the final.
"It is so competitive in some categories that some of the best athletes are
grouped in the first pool. It means our players will meet the biggest opponents
before the final, and it will increase the risk of injury."