RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (sentinel.ht) – Haiti’s 17-year old, Aniya Necol Louissaint (red), had the odds stacked against her. For one, the high school junior seemed to, only by chance, find herself selected by the Olympic committee to be featured on the world stage for the first time in Rio. But for two, her first fight would be against the number 1 taekwondo fighter in the world, the reigning World and European Gold Medalist Haby Niaré (blue) of France.
Odds had the 17-year old losing 11-1 but she came in showing that she was unafraid and ready for the challenge. Louissaint left fight fans and commentators mouth gaped as she nearly beat Niare. She ended up losing 4-5 and nearly won if she hadn’t missed a last-second round house to the head by just inches. To put things in perspective, Niare went on to the second round and beat a world class opponent in a shutout, 4-0.
Niare even had a penalty against her on the books at the end of the 3-round match. Louissaint made no such errors. She scored a side kick to the ribs (1 point) and a snapping front kick to the head (3 points) to account for her 4 points. But Niare had a very early, 1st-round, push kick to the chest (1 point), a desperate late kick to the side (1 point) in the 3rd round, and a 2nd-round scorpion kick to the head (3 points), to get her 5 points.
Aniya Necol Louissaint’s earned an opportunity to still keep her Olympic medal dreams alive with a second fight against the Ivory Coast’s Ruth Marie Christelle Gbagbi. By winning that match and two other subsequent fights, she would have taken home a Bronze medal for Haiti. Louissaint lost to Gbabi 7-2.