RIO DE JANEIRO: Nepali taekwondo player Nisha Rawal put up an improved performance before going down to France’s Gwladys Epangue in the first bout of the Repechage during the above-67kg bout of the Rio Olympic Games here at the Arena Carioca today.
Rawal conceded a late point as she faced a 4-3 defeat at the hands of former world champion and 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal winner Epangue. Epangue took an early lead with a three-pointer after she kicked Rawal’s head. Rawal charged back in the second round with a similar shot to tie the match. At a time when the match was heading towards the draw, Epangue scored the winning points to make it to the next round.
The Repechage match was between the two players who lost to China’s Zheng Shuyin. While Rawal faced a 2-0 loss against the Chinese opponent in the round of 16 bout, Epangue had lost 4-1 against Shuyin in the quarter-final match. They earned the second chance after Shuyin advanced to the final.
The 21-year-old Rawal had a dream of winning at least one bout in Olympics and that was shattered ever since she was drawn against the world champion Chinese player.
Rawal, who started playing taekwondo since she was in school 11 years ago, won gold medal in her first international appearance in the Mt Everest Taekwondo Championship in 2014. She also took part in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and Universiad Games in Korea the next year.
She won silver medal in Zenzu Open in Korean in 2015 and bagged gold in Hong Kong Asia Cities Open earlier this year. She also represented the country in the Asian Qualifiers for the Olympic Games earlier this year in Manila.
Meanwhile, Wiam Dislam (Morocco) beat Kirstie Elaine Alora (Philippines) 7-5 in the same category.