Judoka Thapa goes down in 22 seconds

Kathmandu, August 12:

Nepal’s Devu Thapa could not survive even for 30 seconds in the Women’s 63-kg judo match at the 2008 Beijing Olympics today.

Thapa, who had entered the round of 32 with a first round bye, was knocked out in 22 seconds by Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chin-Fang. Wang, the World No 22 and fifth in the Asian rankings, defeated Finland’s Johanna Ylinen in the first round.

Thapa, the first Nepali woman judo player to participate in the Olympics and third overall, was more than happy with the Olympic participation. “I had not even imagined of winning the medal here, so the Olympic participation was itself an achievement for me,” said the 10th South Asian Games silver medallist.

“It was also a poor day for me as I could not perform to my level best today. I had fought Chinese Taipei players previously, but today I could not fight as per my caliber,” she added. The loss to Wang had not ended Thapa’s medal hopes as she would have earned another fight for the third-place qualifier had Wang entered the final. But Wang’s loss to Cuban player in the quarter-finals ended all hopes.

Coach Birendra Ranjit described Thapa’s performance as Nepali standard. “She should not be frustrated as she can use the Olympic experience in the days to come,” he said adding, “The match showed the Nepali standard in judo.” Judo players Sri Ram Pradhan and Ganga Bahadur Dongol had represented Nepal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Out of the eight Nepali players, who are trying their lucks at the 2008 Olympics, two players had already ended their campaign. Shooter Phool Maya Kyapchhaki finished 46th in the 10-metre Air Rifle participated in by 47 markswomen, while lifter Kamal Bahadur Adhikari broke his own national record in the men’s 69-kg weightlifting.

On Thursday, swimmer Prasiddha Jung Shah will participate in the 50-metre free style event, while Karishma Karki is scheduled to compete in the women’s 50-metre freestyle on Friday.