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Su Li-wen: Taiwan’s pride

Ms. Su Li-wen did not win a gold medal, but she is widely regarded as the most outstanding of Taiwanese participants in the Beijing Olympics.

Su finished in fifth place in the women’s taekwondo tournament, and yet she won widespread acclaim on both sides of the Taiwan Strait by demonstrating a high degree of sportsmanship.

Despite serious foot injuries and her coach’s advice for her to stop, Su picked herself up 11 times from the floor to battle to the very end of the women’s 57kg taekwondo bronze medal competition.

President Ma Ying-jeou personally called Su to express his admiration for the courage and perseverance she displayed. The president said in a phone call to Beijing that her fighting spirit tremendously touched his heart and those of all the people in Taiwan.

Su, 27, won the championships in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok and the 2008 Asian Taekwondo Championship.

She sustained injuries in the preliminary round of the world’s 16 top athletes.

In the final duel at the Beijing Olympics, she tied with Croatia’s Martina Zubcic 4-4 after the first three rounds of the bronze medal match, but lost the contest by a decisive point in the fourth round.

Su is a model of fortitude and courage and her example should inspire other Taiwanese athletes who aim to shine in international sports.

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