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Carver alum wins silver at Olympics

Nia Abdallah, a 2002 graduate of Aldine ISD’s Carver High School, won the silver medal in the women’s 126-pound Tae Kwon Do finals at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“I don’t think anybody expected me to do anything here,” she said.

Abdallah won a silver medal in Tae Kwon Do, advancing all the way to the final before losing 2-1 to Jang Ji-won of South Korea in the 126-pound (57 kg) class. Iridia Salazar Blanco of Mexico won the bronze.

Abdallah, a little-known competitor from Houston, was the first American woman to win an Olympic match in Tae Kwon Do, added as an official sport in Sydney in 2000.

“Just me winning my first fight was putting myself in the record books,” she said. “I’m happy for what I got.”

She beat Margarita Mkrtchyan of Russia in the first round, Cristiana Corsi of Italy in the second and Nootcharin Sukkhongdumnoen of Thailand in the semifinals. Only Mkrtchyan had faced Abdallah before.

“I was a newcomer,” said Abdallah, who felt that was an advantage. In the final, the 20-year-old Abdallah fell behind early and didn’t score until the third and last round. Still, she was thrilled with her performance.

“This is an amazing time in my life,” she said. “I got a silver medal. Everyone is asking for my picture and everything. I’m just glad to be here.”

Cecil Hutson, currently the principal at Aldine Senior High School, was Abdallah’s principal at Carver and said he was not surprised by her outstanding effort at the 2004 Olympics.

“She’s an awesome young lady and I’m so happy that all of her hard work was richly rewarded,” he said. “She made Carver and Aldine ISD proud by her performance in Athens.”