Thailand Swept 2 Titles
Thailand struck it rich at the Singapore Indoor Stadium when they won two gold medals in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Pisit Poodchalat and Sapsiree Taerattanachai were the heroes as they played their hearts out to an appreciative crowd which included International Olympic Committee president Dr Jacques Rogge and Badminton World Federation president Dr Kang Young Joong.
The inaugural Games features only the boy’s and girl’s singles.
Sapsiree started the ball rolling for Thailand when she beat China’s Deng Xuan 21-14, 21-17 to take the girl’s singles gold.
With fists clenched and pumping into the air each time she won a point, Sapsiree had an answer for everything that Deng Xuan threw at her to leave the Chinese shaking her head in disbelief at times.
“I am proud of my achievement here and even prouder to hear the national anthem of Thailand played here in the Youth Olympics,” said Sapsiree, 18.
“This is the first Youth Olympic Games and I am also proud to be its first winner in badminton. Hopefully, this win will spur the popularity and growth of badminton in my country.”
Thursday’s results mean that Thailand can now boast of having the World Junior champion in girl’s singles via Ratchanok Inthanon and the Youth Olympic Games gold medalists in Sapsiree and Pisit.
Ratchanok, who won the World Junior title in Mexico in April, is ineligible for the Youth Olympic Games as she is underage. She is 15.
Vietnam’s Vu Thi Trang also scored an important victory and milestone for her country when she won the bronze medal play off match against Great Britain’s Sarah Milne.
Vu won in straight games 21-15, 22-20.
In the boy’s singles, bronze medal went to Korea’s Kang Ji Wook after Malaysia’s Loh Wei Sheng did not take to the court due to an ankle injury suffered in his semi-final match against Pisit on Wednesday.
But it was Pisit who stole the show as the 18-year-old showed great maturity and court craft to beat a hapless H.S. Prannoy of India.
Prannoy played to his strengths, suing delicate net shots and smashes but Pisit was more than equal to the task. In fact, anything that Prannoy could do, Pisit did better to win in straight games, 21-15, 21-16.
“I was motivated by Sapsiree’s win and I did not want to let my country down,” said Pisit.
“I hope this win is the start of better things to come for my badminton career and I it will also spur me to work harder to improve my game,’ said Pisit.
Prannoy, who beat Korea’s top seed Kang Ji Wook in the semi-finals, was philosophical on his loss.
“I tried my best but he was definitely the better player today. But in defeat, there are many leassons to be learnt and it can only make a better player,” said Prannoy.