Taekwondo Jins Go, Rivero draw dangerous foes

August 19, 2008

BEIJING. – Tshomlee Go and Mary Antoinette Rivero have drawn dangerous opponents as their first round foes in the taekwondo competition of the Beijing Olympics here but remained upbeat in their quest to end the country’s long gold medal draught.

Go faces 23-year-old Australian Ryan Carneli on Wednesday, while Rivero, bidding to finish at least a notch higher than her fourth place finish in Athens four years ago, battles reigning European middleweight champion Sandra Saric of Croatia.

Carneli won a silver medal in the 2006 World Cup in Bangkok and is bidding to become the third Aussie to win a taekwondo medal in the Olympics.

Go, who sprained his right foot while going through light training last Saturday, has recovered but team doctor Alejandro Pineda still gave the 27-year-old Pinoy bet pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication.

“Okay lang ako,” stressed Go, who finished 11th while competing in the flyweight division in Athens. He has moved up to the bantamweight class and is armed with a ninth place finish in the 2007 world championships held here and fifth in the 2008 Asian championships in Zhengzhou, China.

With 16 entries in his class, Go has to win four fights to figure in the gold-medal bout, an agonizing prospect.

“We are going to take it one fight at a time,” said coach Rocky Samson. “They have very clear minds, clear focus, and both of them have no hesitations.”

Against Carneli, Go, at 5-foot-9, will have a two-inch height advantage.

As part of their preparations here, the RP team has done its homework against the opposition, according to Go.

“Pinag-aralan namin ang mga kalaban namin through tapes. Nag-scout din ang team about their capabilities,” he said.

Rivero and Go did a light workout Monday morning and took their afternoon nap after lunch. Their coaches, Rocky Samson and Korean Kim Hong Sik, attended the draw.

Rivero, 20, is expected to have her hands full in her fight in minus 67 kgs class on Friday. Saric, 24, aside from being the reigning European champion, also won a silver medal in the 2003 world meet and bagged the bronze in the 2005 and 2007 editions.

A freshman at Ateneo, Rivero will be cheered by her parents-Manuel and Marilou-and brothers Mark and JR who are set to arrive Tuesday.

She advanced to the top four in Athens but lost to a Greek opponent in the semifinals. She lost in the battle for the bronze to a Korea.

“I have a goal-na lagpasan ang na-accomplish ko sa Athens,” she said.

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