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Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 13:52 UK

Reprieved Stevenson takes bronze

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Video - Stevenson comes back to take bronze

Britain's Sarah Stevenson took Olympic bronze in the women's +67kg taekwondo after a rollercoaster day of emotions.

Stevenson had lost her quarter-final to China's Chen Zhong, but a successful appeal against a controversial judging decision gave her a second chance.

She struggled in the semi-final, losing 4-1 to Mexico's Maria del Rosario Espinoza but regained her composure to beat Noha Abd Rabo 5-1 for the bronze.

Rosario eventually took the gold medal with Norway's Nina Solheim in silver.

And the second bronze medal went to Brazil's Natalia Falavigna as she recovered from her semi-final loss to Solheim to beat Karolina Kedzierska 5-2.

"I didn't come for bronze but I'm really happy," Stevenson, who became Britain's first ever Olympic medallist in taekwondo, told BBC Sport.

"I tried really hard and I knew I was going to be ready for the bronze medal fight.

"Physically, I was more ready than I have ever been, but mentally I was tired. It has been good and the ups and downs are something to remember."

Stevenson's gold medal hopes look to be over after an incident-packed defeat by Chen, the defending champion in the last eight.

Britain appealed after judges missed a final-round kick to the head by Stevenson which would have been enough to win.

The result was reversed - thought to be a first for the sport - after video footage was considered, but Stevenson could not take full advantage of the reprieve as she slumped to defeat against Del Rosario Esoinoza.

The decision to change the result threw the competition into chaos, but after a lengthy delay Stevenson returned for the match against the world champion.

"I didn't fight very well then, I didn't have enough time to prepare because I didn't expect to fight," said Stevenson.

"I have done so much mental preparation, but I just blew it then. My mind wasn't focused."

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Video - Taekwondo decision reversed

Great Britain taekwondo performance director Gary Hall said China had co-operated with the appeal, accepting that the wrong decision had been made.

"Credit to the Chinese for showing good sportsmanship by saying that the decision needed to be overturned," he told BBC Sport.

"The International Taekwondo Federation believed what was right was right and overturned the decision.

"I'm not sure why the judges didn't see it in the first place. External pressures? I don't know."

Chen had never lost in the Olympics before, claiming the gold medal in the 2000 and 2004 Games.

"She didn't win - I won and that's it. The judges can take your dreams away," she said straight after the bout. Stevenson was competing in her third Olympic Games, and went into the tournament in fine form after winning gold in the recent Dutch and Belgian Opens.

The incident came hot on the heels of similarly questionable scoring in Aaron Cook's defeat by China's Zhu Guo on Friday.

Stevenson had kicked off her campaign with a 3-2 victory over Jordan's Nadin Dawani to reach the last eight.

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Video - Stevenson satisfied with bronze

see also
Taekwondo needs to change
24 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo scoring explained
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Matos rage overshadows Cha gold
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Iran's Saei takes taekwondo gold
22 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Guide to Taekwondo
14 Oct 05 |  Taekwondo
What makes a top taekwondo player?
29 May 07 |  Taekwondo

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