Outplays two opponents in repechage before losing to Chinese Yujie Li in final


Nepali para-taekwondo player Palesha Goverdhan created history but missed the Olympic medal by a whisker after she lost to Chinese Yujie Li in the repechage final of below-58kg weight category in the Tokyo Paralympic Games today.

Competing in the K44 section, Goverdhan lost the first round bout 21-8 at the hands of Great Britain's Beth Munro.

Goverdhan earned a second chance to fight for bronze medal in repechage after Munro made it to the final.

Goverdhan fought with confidence in the repechage final against Li and took a 4-2 lead in the first round. Li hit back with a 5-0 win in the second round to move 7-4 ahead in the second round.

Goverdhan made it 9-9 at one stage in the third and final round but Li snatched points in the dying moments to take the match 12-9 and deny Nepal a maiden Olympic medal.

Earlier, Goverdhan thrashed B Salinaro of the United States of America 10-0 in the first match of the repechage. Goverdhan made it to the repechage final with a 23-15 victory over Marija Micev in the second match. Goverdhan, who missed the Olympic Qualifying due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and earned a wild card for the global sporting extravaganza, created history by becoming the first Nepali athlete to record win in Olympic Games.

Nepal have never won a medal in its 57-year Olympic history with taekwondo stars Sangina Baidhya and Deepak Bista being the only two players to get Olympic Games tickets through qualifying. Bidhan Lama had bagged a bronze in the 1988 Seoul Olympics but taekwondo was included as an exhibition game in that edition. Five Nepali players took part in the Tokyo Olympic Games last month and all of them entered through universality places and wild cards. Goverdhan is the lone Nepali athlete in the Tokyo Paralympics where para-taekwondo made its debut.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.