Fighter felled by kick to head taken to hospital

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The Independent Online

A concerned taekwondo fighter bends over his stricken opponent after he was knocked unconscious yesterday.

A concerned taekwondo fighter bends over his stricken opponent after he was knocked unconscious yesterday.

Bertrand Gbongou Liango, of the Central African Republic, was taken to hospital after being floored by Austria's Tuncay Caliskan.

The 22-year-old Liango was caught by a reverse round-house kick to the head (see inset) in his first-round match. He was knocked out cold and medical staff rushed on to the mat to free his air-passage and revive him before he was taken away on a stretcher.

Liango's team doctor, Jacques Ndemanga, confirmed he was in a stable condition. "He is awake now and he has full mobility back," Ndemanga said. "He is going to hospital for some X-rays and check-ups."

In taekwondo, competitors score points by kicking or punching their opponents. They are allowed to punch only the body, but can kick their opponent's head. Blows to the head count for two points, and a blow to the body is worth one point. Competitors wear padded headgear and chest and abdomen protectors.

"It is an ordinary technique," the Austria coach, Mustafa Atalar, said. "The other athlete didn't take the right defensive position. This was the first time that I saw this kick cause such damage."

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