S. Korea Takes 4th Taekwondo Gold
South Korea has taken all four gold medals where it sent athletes in taekwondo competitions at the Beijing Olympics. Taekwondo offers eight golds, while each nation can send up to four athletes.
The gold by the 22-year-old Cha is the third straight title South Korea has won in the men's weight category since the sport was introduced into the Games in 2000.
"I felt relaxed and my condition was really good. At first, I felt a little nervous, but when I ran on the mat and when I fought, I felt very good," Cha was quoted as saying by Yonhap News after the match.
Cha nailed a decisive right-foot kick with just 19 seconds left in the final round, after Nikolaidis rallied in the final few minutes to come from a two-point deficit and tie the score at 4-4.
After losing a pair of points early in the first round, Cha landed a right kick to earn his first point and then nailed a swift axe kick on the face of his Greek opponent to instantly notch two more points and make the score 3-2.
Cha extended his lead to 4-2 just 25 seconds into the second round, smacking his opponent in the side with a low right-foot kick as the two traded a flurry of attacks.
Nikolaidis, who lost to South Korean Moon Dae-sung in Athens in 2004, then fired a pair of left and right kicks to score a point with 25 seconds left in the second round. Moon was recently elected to the IOC Athletes Commission.
The Greek then nailed a high kick in the third round to tie the score at 4-4 as Cha charged with a wide spinning hook. But Nikolaidis allowed the South Korean the winning kick later in the round to lose the gold at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium.
The gold was the 12th South Korea has claimed at the Beijing Olympics.