28 - Chen Zhong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 July, 2008, 12:00am

Born: November 22, 1982 in Jiaozuo, Henan

Entry: +67kg

Credentials: Gold at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004

Why she'll win: To complete the 'alien invasion'. Until the 1990s, taekwondo was considered 'unhealthy' on the mainland because parents and teachers believed students who learned it were likely to cause trouble. Even five years ago aficionados were still considered something of an oddity. 'I remember people always used to ask me if my white uniform was some kind of nightwear,' Chen says. 'We were called aliens because we sometimes went to the post office in our uniform after training.' Chen's spectacular gold medal in Athens - she was a picture of aggression as she powered to victory over France's Myriam Baverel - changed all that. Taekwondo is now one of the most popular sports among 20- to 35-year-olds, with over 90 clubs in Beijing alone. 'It's quite funny because people say we are involved in a very modern and fashionable sport, but I don't see that side of it,' says Chen. 'We are all 100 per cent focused.'

Who can stop her: Han Jin-sun (South Korea), Tsui Fang-hsuan (Taiwan)

Final: Saturday, August 23rd