On the fifth of seven days of taekwondo finals at the Chengdu FISU World University Games, Thailand’s Sasikarn Tongchan won gold in the women’s -62kg weight class at the sold out Wangjiang campus Gymnasium of Sichuan University.
“It’s the first time that I will win a major competition, and I am very happy,” an excited Tongchan said.
Taekwondo is a way of life, not just a sport for the newly crowned FISU champion.
“Taekwondo is loved in my family because my parents support my dream,” the student from Chulalongkorn University explained.
In the women’s +73kg category, despite the pressure of performing in front of her home crowd, China’s Xu Lei defeated Tavakoli Anahita from Iran.
“I’m happy to get the gold medal in Chengdu. It’s my hometown, and I have proved myself in my hometown too.”
After the referee announced her as the winner, Xu recognized the fans, saying: “No doubt, the support from the people and my coach made me win this fight.”
The winner’s first reaction was to show sportsmanship by hugging her opponent and her coach.
“You made a good fight and I will be willing to see you winning international competitions,” The 23-year-old said
“I’m hopeful that the task ahead will be an easy one as I aim for more medals,” Xu continued. “I know this won’t come easy, but I will continue to work hard.
“I have become sunny. I wasn’t very confident before, but now after practicing taekwondo, I have become more open-minded,” the student from Beijing Sport University said about how the sport changed her lifestyle.
On the men’s side, Türkiye’s Emre Atesli, in the men’s +87kg, and Mirhashem Hosseini from Iran, in the men’s 74kg, grabbed gold.
A student from Ondokuz Mayis University, Atesli said that his way of life is taekwondo.
“This is a big win for me because I’m training to pick up Olympic qualifications,” said the 2018 world champion at -78kg.
“I have won a world championship, now the University Games have all my attention. I will soon shift to winning the Olympics.
“Taekwondo is my life. Everything depends on it. I can’t do anything without it.”
BY HASSAN ABDULSALAM, FISU YOUNG REPORTER