Nurul Hidayah in tears after heartbreaking q-final loss

HANGZHOU: National taekwondo exponent Nurul Hidayah Abdul Karim was inconsolable after suffering a heartbreaking loss when she was pipped to at least a bronze medal by a mere 0.03 points in the women’s poomsae individual event at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games today.

The defeat also denied Nurul Hidayah the chance to become Malaysia’s first medal winner.

In the quarter-finals held at the Lin’an Sports Centre, which is about 70 kilometres (km) from here, Nurul Hidayah, 25, lost out to 2013 World Championships gold medallist Marjan Salahshouri of Iran by 0.03 points for performance after both exponents were tied with 7.780 points.

Nurul Hidayah lost the first performance when she could only garner 7.740 points compared to Marjan’s 7.780 points.

Then, in the second performance, Nurul Hidayah of Bintulu, Sarawak clinched 7.820 points to upstage her Iranian opponent, who only earned 7.780 points.

However, national coach Jin Jun Beom believes Nurul Hidayah should have marched into the semi-finals, thus ensuring her at least the bronze medal, claiming that the Iranian exponent had made mistakes in the first poomsae.

Jin then tried to lodge a protest against the decision but was told by the technical delegate and referee’s chairman that they could not change the decision, which favoured Marjan, the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang edition silver medallist.

Marjan, however, had to be contented with a bronze medal after losing to Japan’s Yuiko Niwa in the semi-finals.

Nurul Hidayah was in tears when met by reporters after the defeat as she knew that had she made the last four, she would have been assured of at least a bronze medal and equal the feat achieved by compatriot Sara Yap in the previous edition.

“I did not quite catch her (Marjan’s) performance as I was more focused on myself. But when the first poomsae marks came out, I found it odd that she got higher marks than me despite having made mistakes… she was a bit unbalanced, but she earned a high score.

“Poomsae is a subjective event, (and) it’s good and bad… usually, eight exponents enter and each takes her turn to perform,” said Nurul Hidayah.

Jin, meanwhile, had no choice but to accept the fact that his protest was rejected.

“I saw Hidayah did well without major mistakes, but the Iran athlete had major mistakes, so I thought we would win in poomsae one. But after I saw the results, I made up my mind to protest if we lost the second poomsae, but we won and had the same number of total points… only to lose by 0.03 points for presentation.

“Our protest was not accepted when we met the technical delegate and referee’s chairman, they said they cannot change the results… and that they can only suspend the referee. We are very sad but need to work harder to perform better next time so that no one can deny us victory,” said the coach from South Korea.

Meanwhile, Jason Loo also missed out on making the semi-finals after notching 7.770 points to lose to Taiwan’s Ma Yun-zhong, who scored 7.950 points.

That marked the end of the national taekwondo camp’s journey in the Asiad as no exponents managed to get past the qualifiers for the kyorugi (combat) event and they will now train their sights on making an impact in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, the Asian Championships and World Championships next year.

Jason-Nurul Hidayah won silver in the Under-30 mixed team event at last year’s World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships.-Bernama