PHUKET: Bodin Isara and Maneepong Jongjit’s dazzling Olympic odyssey came to a disappointing end yesterday when the Thai duo lost to Malaysia’s Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan in the quarter-finals.
The Games debutants won the hearts of fans in London with an attacking style that propelled them to three successive wins and victory in the Group stage. But they failed to maintain that high standard yesterday as the Malaysians battled to a 21-16, 21-18 win in 40 minutes.
The pressure of high expectations seemed to take its toll as a below-par performance saw the duo commit error after error to fall behind 0-9 and 5-14 in both games. When the Thais finally found their momentum, the margin was too wide to catch the Malaysian team, who produced a solid defence on crucial points.
Bodin-Maneepong’s exit added salt to the Thai team’s wounds, with mixed doubles duo Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam having lost their quarter-final match to fourth-seeded Joachim Fischer and Christina Pedersen of Denmark a night earlier.
“I was disappointed as I hoped for a lot from this Olympics,” said Phuket’s Maneepong. “We missed points we shouldn’t have, but Malaysia were well-prepared coming into the match.”
Teenager Ratchanok Inthanon remains the last hope for Thai badminton at the Olympics. The 17-year-old upset sixth-seeded Juliane Schenk of Germany 21-16, 21-15 to book a quarter-final date against world No 2 Xin Wang of China.
Wang broke the teenager’s heart recovering from losing the first game 17-21 to eventually run out the winner taking the second 21-18, and the final game comfortably 21-14.
Elsewhere, in shooting, a nerve-wracked Tanyaporn Prucksakorn shot well below her best in the women’s 25m pistol final for a total 778.4 to finish eighth and bottom in the standings.
In qualification, she fired 586 for second place, five points behind leader Kim Jangmi of South Korea. But nerves got the better of her in the final where she produced the lowest score of 192.4.”I was very excited out there,’ said Tanya.
PHUKET: China’s Lu Xiaojun got the better of injured compatriot Lu Haojie to claim gold and set new world and Olympic records in an action-packed men’s weightlifting 77kg competition on Wednesday night.
Thai teenager Chatuphum Chinnawong failed in his attempts to lift 195kg in the clean and jerk, letting the opportunity for a bronze medal slip through his fingers.
Chatuphum, double gold medallist at last year’s Asian Junior Weightlifting Championships, got his chance at a medal when reigning champion Sa Jaehyouk injured his right arm while attempting 162kg in the snatch event and was forced to pull out of the competition.
Chatuphum finished third among 12 rivals following a lift of 157kg in his first attempt in the snatch. He failed in his two subsequent attempts, at 161 and 162kg. In the clean and jerk, he hoisted 191kg in his first attempt, but could not lift 195kg in his next two attempts. A total lift of 348kg earned Chatuphum fourth place overall.
Chatuphum was aiming to make history as the first Thai male to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting.
However, a consolation is that he can claim Bt300,000 from Tan Passakornnatee, the owner of Ichitan ready-to-drink green tea. Tan has promised to award Bt10 million to any Thai gold medallist, Bt1 million to silver medallists and Bt500,000 to bronze winners. Fourth place will earn Bt200,000 from the tea tycoon, while all 37 Thai athletes taking part in the London Games will pocket Bt100,000 apiece.
China’s Lu Xiaojun bettered his own snatch record and total marks in the men’s injury-hit 77kg class.
It was China’s fourth gold medal of the competition, and a welcome riposte to the rumbling might of reclusive communist neighbours North Korea, for whom Rim Jong-Sim won the women’s 69kg class, their third gold.
Lu snatched 175kg, 1kg better than his previous mark, and registered a best clean and jerk of 204kg to leave him with a combined total of 379kg, also beating his previous world record by 1kg.
The total left him a clear winner after closest rivals Lu Haojie of China and South Korean Sa Jaehyouk – back from an injury that saw him miss three weeks of training in the run up to the Games – both withdrew with arm injuries.
Lu Haojie, however, still claimed silver with a total of 360kg (170, 190), a massive 19kg adrift. Cuban Ivan Cambar Rodriguez took bronze with an even more distant 349kg (155, 194).
It was North Korea’s third gold after title-winning performances by Kim Un-Guk and Om Yun-Chol in the men’s -62 and 56kg classes respectively, while Ryang Chun-Hwa nabbed a bronze in the women’s 48kg category.
PHUKET: Flyweight Chatchai Butdee believes he has what it takes to beat Cuban boxer Ramirez Carrazana in the last-16 bout of the 52kg category today.
Chatchai is one of only two Thai fighters remaining in the boxing competition along with veteran light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon, after Sailom Ardee crashed out in the preliminary round of the lightweight class.
While Kaew appears to have an easier path in his half of the draw in the 49kg division, the 27-year-old Chatchai has to face an opponent from Cuba, a country known for its boxing proficiency, at the early stages of the competition.
Widely seen as the most accomplished fighter among the three boxers Thailand took to London, Chatchai, who is making his first appearance in the Olympics, provided further evidence of his status by dismantling Turkish fighter Eker Selcuk 24-10.
Undoubtedly, Carrazana, who also recorded a one-sided win against a Japanese fighter in the first round, will offer a sterner test, though the Thai says he is unfazed by the challenge from the Cuban teenager.
“After the first win, I have continued to train as normal. More importantly, my morale is very good. I have been talking to my wife and family regularly. I’ll give it my best in the fight. I’m confident of advancing to the next round,” said Chatchai.
Thai coach Thong Thaweekhun was bullish on Chatchai’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals.
“The Cuban is a good fighter but not as strong as everyone thought. In my view, Chatchai has an edge in terms of experience as the Cuban is only 18. Chatchai is in fantastic mood. I just want him to relax during the fight.
“He should focus on his jabs and one-two combinations. We need to take the game to him to score points, forcing him to come out. I hope he will fall into the trap. Gen Boonlerd Kaewprasith, the president of Thailand Boxing Association, will be at the venue to lend support and I’m confident Chatchai will not let his fans at home down,” said Thong.
In other boxing news, the lights went out on the United States’ bright start at the Olympics on Wednesday as all three fighters lost to opponents from old Cold War foes Russia and Cuba.
Joseph Diaz Junior lost a terrific bantamweight second-round bout to Cu
— Phuket Gazette Editors
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