MANILA – Filipino taekwondo player Kurt Barbosa missed out on a chance to win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
This came after his first-round opponent, Jang Jun of South Korea, lost in the men’s under-58-kilogram taekwondo semifinals on Saturday at the Makuhari Messe Hall in the Japanese capital.
Barbosa could have qualified for the repechage if Jang made it to the gold medal fight.
However, 12th seeded Mohamed Jendoubi of Tunisia continued his giant-slaying in the tournament after stunning Jang.
Jang struck first with a kick to the head, but Jendoubi scored back-to-back kicks to take the lead before Jang tied the match at the end of Round 1.
Jang retook the lead to start Round 2 only for Jendoubi to score on back-to-back occasions again to restore order.
Jendoubi, however, was called for a violation late into the round, giving Jang an extra point to cut the lead to one, 9-8, entering Round 3.
Jendoubi then went on a body kicking clinic in the final round, tagging Jang with crucial shots that upped his lead to a more comfortable 24-15 scoreline with eight seconds left before settling for the 25-19 final margin.
Jendoubi will battle Vito Dell’Aquila of Italy, who beat Lucas Guzman of Argentina in the other semifinal, 29-10, for the gold later on Saturday.
By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno