PH ends ‘historic’ Rio Olympics run
RIO DE JANEIRO—Thrown a lifeline by the same fighter who spoiled her Olympic debut, Kirstie Elaine Alora blew her shot at redemption against a second foe and came to grief at Carioca Arena 3 Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila).
Alora put up a brave stand against the much-taller Wiam Dislam of Morocco before surrendering a 7-5 decision in the repechage of taekwondo’s over 67-kilogram competition.
The heart-wrenching result wrapped up the stint in the Rio Olympics of the country’s 13-athlete contingent that produced a new national heroine in weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.
Fighting in the repechage for a chance to salvage the bronze medal, the 26-year-old from Biñan, Laguna, came out more resolute than in her dispirited 4-1 loss to former world and Olympic champion Maria Espinoza of Mexico in a round-of-16 tussle.
Espinoza built on her victory over Alora with two more wins to clinch a spot in the finals while pulling Alora back into the competition through the repechage, a contest in which the best-placed of those who failed to win their first fights are given another chance to compete for the bronze.
The top seeded Espinoza, vertically challenged at 5-foot-8 like Alora in a weight class teeming with 6-footers, later lost the gold-medal match to an elongated Zheng Shuyin of China, 5-1, in the evening finals.
“Another sad moment because it was my second chance and I blew it again,” Alora said, gritting her teeth as if it might stem the tears that trickled down her face. “I know I could fight better than I did, but I was not fortunate enough.
“I believe that with my defeat the Lord has plans for me to continue fighting and become a better person in my sport.”
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