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Khalil left to rue missed opportunity
By Jordan Chong
08:33 AEST Thu Aug 9 2012

Taekwondo player Safwan Khalil has missed out on a medal in his Olympic debut, after losing his bronze match to Russia's Alexey Denisenko at ExCel Arena on Wednesday.

The Australian was denied a podium finish in the less than 58kg class, but it was a lost opportunity earlier against world No.1 and eventual gold medallist Joel Gonzalez that will give him a sleepless night.

The Australian was in contention after a tight opening two rounds, but eventually went down 5-3 to the two-time world and European champion.

"I just didn't put it together at the right time and walking off the court now knowing he is in the final, it kills you," Khalil said.

"Leading into the day we really wanted the gold. We set nothing else in our benchmark but a gold medal."

Khalil admitted he struggled to focus after losing to Gonzalez, and paid tribute to his coach and brother Ali Khalil and fiance Carmen Marton for getting him ready to fight again.

The Australian got the chance to fight for bronze after beating Sweden's Uno Sanli 4-1.

The match went to sudden-death extra time after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of the three two-minute rounds.

In the bronze-medal playoff, it was a fatigued-looking Khalil that faced Denisenko, with a couple of soft kicks to the body by the Russian early in the match proving enough to get the job done.

The focus now turns to Marton, Khalil's fiance, who will compete in the less than 67kg class competition on Friday.

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