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Olympics-Taekwondo-Lee's last-second win keeps South Korea's hopes of gold alive

·1-min read

By Chang-Ran Kim

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - Losing with one second left, South Korea's Lee Dabin turned the tables on Britain's Bianca Walkden on Tuesday to reach the final of the women's taekwondo +67kg category, giving her country its last chance of winning an elusive Tokyo 2020 gold.

South Korea has won at least one taekwondo gold at every Summer Games since the sport became a full-medal Olympic event in 2000.

Lee's last-ditch head-kick ended world number one Walkden's own dreams of finishing top of the podium, which had seemed to come closer after defending Olympic champion Zheng Shuyin from China lost in the quarter-final.

"Everything felt like slow motion. I was desperate, but I managed to make the final move," Lee said after her dramatic win.

"...My desire for victory drove me on... My opponent is ranked number one in the world, but taekwondo is the sport of my country and we don't have many medals," added the 24-year-old, who will face Serbia's Milica Mandic in the final.

South Korea has just one bronze so far, from Jang Jun in the men's flyweight category, and their best hope for gold had seemed to evaporate when Lee Dae-hoon exited the men's -68kg category empty-handed on Sunday.

In the men's +80kg class final, North Macedonia's Dejan Georgievski will face the Russian Olympic Committee's top-ranked Vladislav Larin, giving the Russians a chance to top the medals table at the conclusion of the four-day tournament.

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; editing by John Stonestreet)

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