A New Face Joins Olympic Taekwondo Team

There will be an Israeli in the Olympic taekwondo tournament for the second straight time. Bat-El Gaterer, who turns 20 next week, met the criteria for the 2008 Beijing Games by finishing third at the European Taekwondo Qualification Tournament in Istanbul. After Gaterer recorded two victories in her first two matches and lost in the semifinals, she won the match for third place and an Olympic ticket. Gaterer, who has become a strong contender in this weight category over the last two years, beat out Michal Taraboulos for the opportunity to compete in Istanbul. Maya Arusi represented Israel in taekwondo at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Tom Hovav, who had been a leading contender to reach the 2008 Olympics, will not be in Beijing after losing his second match to former world champion Dennis Bekkers of Holland by a judges' decision after a close, balanced match that was not decided even after the sudden death overtime round. The Israeli team appealed the decision, but were turned down.