London-bound Irene Therese Bermejo made her mark in international taekwondo when she beat Angelica Guting of the USA junior national team in the finweight category of the 6th World Taekwondo Culture Expo in Korea yesterday.
Seeing action in the A-Match Advance Division, Bermejo prevailed over Guting after three rounds, 3-1; 6-9; 19-15. En route to the championship round, she prevailed over Australian national team member Benecia Cheong, 21-5.
In the last 40 seconds of the third round, Guting was ahead by five points when Bermejo launched a powerful axe and two roundhouse kicks that knocked down Guting.
The powerful move allowed Bermejo to clinch the title and prevent team USA from sweeping all the gold medals in the tournament that drew participation from 45 countries.
Bermejo was one of the 36 taekwondo jins from the Philippines, including her coach and mentor JimJim Chua of the Negros Taekwondo Union Tigers, who joined in the competition.
She was the only player from her team who competed in the A-Match division Kyorugi (sparring), where only players with national team record are allowed to see action.
A bemedalled Palarong Pambansa veteran, Bermejo is one of the 11 Filipino athletes who were tapped to join a study program in the United Kingdom and given the chance to watch the London 2012 Olympics.
Along with trickster Mary Anthony Diesto of Bacolod Tay Tung High
Schoo, Bermejo and the nine other young athletes will leave for UK on July 28.
Meanwhile, coach Chua also won a gold medal in the World Taekwondo Expo in the final fight against an Indian player in the 35-44 years old category.
Chua beat his foe, 6-2, despite a serious injury in his right leg.*NAB
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