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Liango lost consciousness

8/27/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- A taekwondo competitor from the Central
African Republic was hospitalized Friday after being knocked out
during a preliminary bout.

Bertrand Gbongou Liango was kicked in the left side of the head
by Tuncay Caliskan of Austria during their 150-pound (68 kg) bout.
He fell face-down to the mat, then lay motionless while being
counted out. He was carried off on a stretcher.

Liango, 22, was unconscious but breathing as he was carried off,
a venue manager said.

After a couple minutes he started moving his hands, breathing
easily and regained consciousness, a doctor at the site said in a
statement. Liango was undergoing tests at Tzanio Hospital and will
remain there for at least 24 hours.

"Thank god Bertrand is OK,'' said Liango's coach, Zacques
Dominik. "We saw him moving his hands and breathing. Everything is
going well.''

Liango was leading 4-1 in the third and final round of his bout
when a roundhouse kick from Caliskan knocked him unconscious.

"It is the nature of our sport,'' Caliskan said. "I tried to
win the match, which was the same thing that my opponent did. I
send him my best wishes.''

Caliskan's kick was legal. In taekwondo, competitors score
points by kicking or punching their opponents. They are allowed to
punch only the body, but can kick the 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,'' Austria coach Mustafa Atalar
said. "My athlete tried to win the match and not to harm his
opponent. He executed the kick but the other athlete didn't take
the right defensive position. This was the first time that I saw
this kick cause such damage.''