LALITPUR, Dec 4: Kajal Shrestha defied odds to help Nepal add another gold to its medal tally in taekwondo held at National Taekwondo Association’s Academy Hall in Lalitpur on Monday.
In 43 kg category, Shrestha carved an underdog story, defeating Pakistan’s Saida Jaidi Sidra who was physically superior than the winner.
Shrestha fought fatigue after a struggling win of 50 against 39 in the semifinal against India’s Radha Bhati. The loser of the semi, Bhati, shared the bronze with Sri Lanka’s Isara Samarakoon.
At the end of the first round, Shrestha had taken a lead of 14-9 against Jaidi. This was the moment when home crowd went behind her. Eventually, Shrestha defeated Jaidi in a dominating score of 50-14 to claim the gold.
Despite the difference in score, Shrestha acknowledged that Jaidi was a strong opponent as anyone else in the final match.
“She was strong and tall. I kept blocking all the kicks on my face. I had to take all my chances,” said Shrestha after the match.
Likewise, Bir Bahadur Mahara won gold in men’s category defeating Pakistan’s Muhamad Fahim, 41-36.
Mahara, who was injured during his semifinal bout against India’s Prithvi Raj Chauhan, defeated the title contender in the semi with a score of 32-24.
After losing the first round against Fahim, Mahara comeback to win second round 15-13 and eventually the match to give Nepal another gold in taekwondo.
In women’s category for 57 kg, Nima Gurung lost against India’s Kashish Malik 8-7. Likewise, Pakistan’s Naksh Hamdani and Bhutan’s Chhiring Yangchen shared bronze medal.
In men’s category for 54 kg, Pakistan’s Zaib Shah defeated Sri Lanka’s Renhana Anura Bandara 41-10 in the final bout. In the same category, Nepal’s Manoj Malla and India’s Kanha Mainali were limited to bronze medal.