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Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Medal first for Vietnam
Tran Hieu Ngan
Tran Hieu Ngan (left) on her way to victory
Vietnam won its first ever Olympic medal with 26-year-old Tran Hieu Ngan taking silver in the women's Tae-Kwon-Do 57kg division.

Ngan, the gold medallist at the 1996 Southeast Asian Games and winner of the bronze at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, was beaten by South Korea's Jung Jae-Eun 2-0 in the final.

As live TV coverage of the Games has not been shown in Vietnam, one of the world's poorer countries, Ngan's fiance and oldest sister heard of her silver medal win in the women's Tae-Kwon-Do from an international press agency.

I think Ngan and all of us in the family don't want to make noise and show off
  Tran Hieu Tran, Ngan's sister
"I'm delighted Ngan has proved herself and her strength in the Olympic Games," said fiance Nguyen Phan Duy Phuong. "But even if I were to telephone her now, I would be speechless."

Tran Hieu Tran, Ngan's eldest sister in her home town of Tuy Hoa, a small fishing community on Vietnam's central coast where the family runs a sweet shop, was also thrilled.

"We are very moved. The family has been waiting to hear any result Ngan could get. But I think Ngan and all of us in the family don't want to make noise and show off.

"I'm really happy to hear that, but I don't know what to say."

Medal winners
Tran Hieu Ngan (left) with gold medal winner, South Korea's Jung Jae-Eun
"I feel such a great honour to receive the first Olympic medal for our country. It is for my country and my people there," said Ngan who took up Tae Kwan Do as a 13-year-old.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry said the whole country had been behind Ngan. "We want to say that we are with you," it said in a statement.

The 20-year Jung had earlier beaten 1995 world champion Hamide Bikcin of Turkey 3-2 in the semi-finals drawing accusations of bias from the Turkish camp.


As Bikcin walked out sobbing, angry Turkish officials in the VIP section hurled abuse at the jury.

"This is scandal. The refereeing was not done properly. The judges favoured the Korean girl," Turkish Olympic Committee general secretary, Bayatli Togay, said later.

However, despite Jung's gold, South Korea failed in their bid to sweep all before them in their own national sport.

They were foiled when the United State's Steven Lopez narrowly defeated Sin Joon-Sik in the Olympic men's 68kg featherweight final.

Lopez, with a 12cm (4.8in) height advantage over Sin, scored a solitary point with a back kick halfway through the third and final round which was enough to get him to the top of the podium.

"I hadn't thrown a back kick all tournament and I threw it, and it worked and I thanked God," said Lopez, who was third at the 1998 World Cup.

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See also:

27 Sep 00 |  Martial Arts
Aussie wins first Tae-Kwon-Do gold
14 Sep 00 |  AudioVideo
Tae-Kwon-Do set to be a big hit
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