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Wu Jingyu: taekwondo is my life-long passion

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Wu Jingyu (R) of China competes with Adriana Cerezo Iglesias of Spain during the women's 49kg taekwondo quarterfinal match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 24, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Yuguo)

China's four-time Olympian Wu Jingyu regards taekwondo as her "life-long passion."

TOKYO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- China's taekwondo veteran Wu Jingyu has bid farewell to Tokyo 2020 with a repechage defeat on Saturday, but she is adamant about keeping her bond with the sport following her fourth Olympic journey.

"I am conscious of my techniques, but I can feel the physical pressure I suffered during the matches due to my age," the 34-year-old Wu said of her defeats to Spanish teenager Adriana Cerezo in the quarterfinals and Serbia's Tirana Bogdanovic in the repechage.

"I can accept this result. I have no regrets as I tried my best."

Wu, a double Olympic gold medal winner at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, is widely considered one of the greatest athletes in taekwondo. Her last Olympic effort in Rio ended at the quarterfinal stage, where she was beaten 4-3 by Bogdanovic. Wu retired after Rio 2016 and gave birth to a baby girl in 2017 before making an inspiring yet painful comeback in 2018.

"I even had to learn running after maternity leave, and I had difficulties in adapting to the rule changes," Wu said last year. "For a moment during that period, I even doubted whether I used to be a taekwondo athlete or not."

Standing just five foot six inches tall, Wu may not appear particularly threatening, but she has gained a profound understanding of the Olympic spirit.

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Wu Jingyu (L) of China competes with Tijana Bogdanovic of Serbia during the women's 49kg taekwondo repechage match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 24, 2021. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)

"I still didn't make it this time, but I have harvested a lot. The Olympics has given me a life-long lecture, teaching me to face challenges with the right attitude," Wu said.

"The competition is not about competing with others but about challenging oneself.

 "A lot of people said to me, why are you even trying with such pain. I want to say to my daughter, do not judge the value of anything, do whatever you want to do and be mindless of the external voices."

When asked about her plans for Tokyo 2020, Wu didn't give a direct answer but said that she wouldn't be away from the taekwondo world.

"(It's) life-long passion... I will be working with the sport in another role," she said.

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