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    Iranian dashes Nikpai’s medal hopes

    KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan’s taekwondo maestro Roohullah Nikpai was shocked in men's featherweight 58-68kg quarter-finals of London Olympics on Thursday, a private TV channel reported.

    Tolo TV said Mohammad Bagheri Motamed of neighbouring Iran dashed Nikpah’s gold medal hopes in the golden round, hours after the Afghan taekwondo fighter -- living up to his reputation -- won his first bout.

    Sparking a wave of jubilation among Afghans, he downed his Polish opponent Michael Loniewski 15-12 points. Having precious experience and special preparations, the Hazara athlete was Afghanistan’s key contender in the taekwondo discipline.

    The player won Afghanistan’s first medal at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, when he stunned world flyweight champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain to take bronze in men’s 58-kg category.

    In other contests, Brazil’s Diogo Silva outplayed Mohammad Abulibdeh of Jordan 7-5, Martin Stamper of Britain trounced Damir Fejzic of Serbia 8-3, while Servet Tazeguel of Turkey thrashed Hryhorii Husarov of Ukraine 9-2.

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