Gold hopes dashed but bid for bronze still alive for Alora after falling to top-seed Mexican foe
Kirstie Alora was left dazed by Maria del Rosario Espinoza's 'hit-and-run' tactic. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO—Kirstie Elaine Alora bowed out of contention for a gold medal after losing to top-seed Maria Del Rosario Espinoza, 4-1, on Saturday morning (Saturday Manila time) in the Olympic women’s taekwondo competition.

Alora, however, still has a shot at a bronze medal, as she hopes that Espinoza will reach the finals of the women’s +67kg division to enter the repechage.

Alora had no answer for Espinoza, who sneaked in a kick to the side to end the first round with a 1-0 lead. The Filipino jin tied the count but Espinoza registered another point with a punch to the body for one point before the Mexican took a 3-1 lead entering the final round of the Pool A match.

Espinoza, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, got another point with another kick to the side to gain a three-point cushion.

Alora was obviously disappointed with the result.

“If she attacks me, kumakawala agad siya dun sa distansya ko. Doon ako nahirapan. Hindi ako maka-engage sa kanya,” said Alora.

Head coach Roberto ‘Kitoy’ Cruz said Espinoza used a 'hit-and-run' tactic that prevented Alora from making clear attacks.

“Minsan pag hinahabol namin, nawawala kasi nga hit-and-run ‘yung ginagawa niya. Ayaw niya makipag-engage. Hindi kami makapasok sa loob dahil sa tuwing lalapit kami, umaalis, lumalayo,” said Cruz.

Alora remains in contention for the bronze medal, as she will enter the repechage if Espinoza advances to the finals.

If she makes it there, she will need to win two matches to win the bronze, needing to win over the loser to the finalist in the quarterfinals, and the losing semifinalist in Pool B to take third place.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @jeromeascano