PH ends ‘historic’ Rio Olympics run | Inquirer Sports

PH ends ‘historic’ Rio Olympics run

Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz celebrates during the women's 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. AFP

Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz celebrates during the women’s 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. AFP

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.

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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.

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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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TAGS: Hidilyn Diaz, Kirstie Elaine Alora, PH Rio Olympics, Philippines, Rio Olympics, Taekwondo, Weightlifting
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