The pandemic-delayed 2020 Olympics are finally set to get underway in Tokyo on July 23, under heavy Covid-19 restrictions as Japan still battles the virus. But as the Olympic Games are gearing up to begin, Thailand has sent 41 hopeful athletes to compete for the gold medal in Tokyo.
Thailand will be competing in 15 events in the Tokyo Olympics: athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, golf, horse riding, judo, rowing, sailing, shooting, skeet shooting, swimming, table tennis, Taekwondo, and windsurfing. Athletes are aiming to break the double-digit barrier and win Thailand’s 10th Olympic gold medal.
Pistol shooter Napatsawan “Ern” Yangpaiboon and skeet shooter Sawet “Sam” Setthaphon will be Thailand’s official flag-bearers in the Olympic opening ceremonies on July 23 to lead the 39 other athletes representing Thailand.
The head of Thai athletes expressed confidence in the world-class atheletes’ ability to medal and predicts at least one Olympic gold, likely in one of the 5 most popular sports – golf, Taekwondo, badminton, skeet shooting, and boxing. Thailand’s traditional muay thai boxing was also just recognized by the International Olympic Committee, opening the door to its inclusion in future Olympics. Here’s a brief rundown of event hopefuls:
The popular sport gives Thailand 2 shots at gold medals with Ratchanok “May” Inthanon playing women’s singles, ranked number 1 in Thailand, and also number 3 ranked mixed doubles team Dechapol “Bas” Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree “Por Por” Taerattanachai.
Chatchai-decha Butdee is likely to retire from the Olympics after this year at the ripe old age of 36, making this his last attempt in his quest for Olympic gold.
Another strong contender for a gold medal, Ariya “Pro May” Jutanugarn is the former number 1 female golfer in the world. She is joined by the current 12th-ranked in the world Papangkorn “Pro Meow” Thawatanakit.
Veteran Olympian Suthiya “Nee” Jiwchalermmit will compete in skeet shooting for his third Olympic Games in hopes of winning his first gold medal.
Perhaps the best shot at Olympic gold is Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit coming off her bronze medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, making her the only Olympic medalled athlete on this year’s team.
SOURCE: The Pattaya News
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