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Judging questioned after Canada's Gonda loses 1st taekwondo match

After losing her first taekwondo bout of the Beijing Games, a protest was launched on behalf of Canadian medal hopeful Ivett Gonda because of what she and her coach perceived to be unfair judging.

Canadians lodge protest but it's unsuccessful

After losing her first taekwondo bout of the Beijing Games, a protest was launched on behalf of Canadian medal hopeful Ivett Gonda because of what she and her coach perceived to be unfair judging.

The Canadians believe Gonda's kicks were not properly rewarded in her 2-0 first-round loss to Hanna Zajc of Sweden. Gonda's coach Shin Wook Lim says the Canadian earned as many as seven or eight points in the match.

Their protest, however, was unsuccessful. Gonda is now eliminated from Olympic competition.

Competing in the under-49 kilogram class, Zajc took the lead in the first round when she scored a point against Gonda on a defensive kick. Her second point came when she scored on an offensive kick in the third round.

Gonda's coach suggested the Chinese judge Lei Zhao may have not been giving Gonda the points she deserved because she would have faced a Chinese athlete in the next round. Gonda is considered a medal contender in this weight class. 

"I can't say for sure, but she made a point but [didn't receive] a point," Lim said. "Must be the machine's broken, I don't know. Other coaches were surprised. It's not only coming from me emotionally."

"I felt really good," added Gonda. "I was doing exactly what my coach told me. I was kicking the points, I don't know why the points weren't going up. I think I made it pretty obvious."

There are four judges in taekwondo who stand at each corner of the mat. Points are given for kicks to the chest and head, and three out of the four judges have to agree that a kick has been landed for a point to be awarded.

Lim said he believed Gonda earned as many as seven or eight points.

"I was really surprised they weren't giving her points," he said. "I was waiting but the referee totally ignored me. Usually they stop the match and the judges talk about it. But they completely ignored me."

This is deja-vu for Gonda, who at the 2004 Olympic Games lost in the semifinal to the eventual gold medallist, though officials with the Canadian team believe she should have won the semi.

Gonda, who was born in Hungary and lives in Port Moody, B.C., won gold at the 2006 Korea Open, came fifth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and took gold at the 2004 Pan American Games.

 

With files from the Canadian Press