Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thailand prepare for gold hunt at Asian Games in Guangzhou

Thailand hoped to win 15 gold medals at the 2004 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar but they could only manage to claim 13 titles.
BILLBOARD: Organisers advertise the event in China.
The Thais clinched four golds in sepak takraw, two in athletics and one each in weightlifting, bodybuilding, billiards, tennis, shooting, sailing and boxing.
Four years on, they again eye 15 golds at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China from Nov 12-27.
There are 42 sports at the Guangzhou Games with 476 gold medals at stake. About 600 Thai athletes _ the fourth largest contingent after China, South Korea and Japan _ will compete in 39 sports.
The athletes are categoried into three groups by local authorities _ the best hopes, the contenders and the "supporting" athletes, or those with slim chances of winning anything.
Olympic champion Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon will competein China but maynotbeat full strength due to injuries
The best hopes for gold medals are athletes in takraw, amateur boxing, taekwondo, cue sport, windsurfing, shooting, skeet, athletics, tennis, sailing and badminton.
The contenders are participants in equestrian, fencing and rowing.
The "supporting" athletes are those in football, wrestling, karate-do, archery, hockey, softball, table tennis, bowling, volleyball, kabaddi, cycling, judo, rugby, speed skating, wushu, dance sport, cricket, swimming and golf.
Thailand should again reign supreme in sepak takraw. There are six events in Guangzhou but each country can take part in a maximum of four to avoid a sweep of gold medals by a certain country, or Thailand to be exact.
Sepak takraw team manager Thawat Kumunpongpanit said concerned parties originally targeted four golds but after the draw was made they lowered the target to three.
"The men should win two golds in the inter-team and single team events. We dare not say that the women will win two golds because China and Vietnam look dangerous. But we think they should win at least one gold," he said.
In athletics, Thailand hope that the men's 4x100m relay team will retain the title they won four years ago by pipping Japan.
However, Surapong Ariyamongkol, secretary-general of the Amateur Athletic Association of Thailand, admitted that it would be tough for the quartet to take gold in Guangzhou.
"They ran 39.21 seconds to win gold in the previous Asian Games and their latest record is 39.25 seconds. I think the winning team this time will run under 39 seconds and our team's best performance is 38.80 seconds," he said.
The women's 4x100m team, who won silver in Doha, are also in contention.
Defending javelin champion Buoban Pamang is ruled out due to injury while up-and-coming long jumper Supanara Sukhasvasti na Ayudhaya is recovering from an injury and is not expected to win gold.
Ratchapol Phu-ob-orm
The Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association are pinning their hopes on 2008 Olympic champion Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon. But her chances are dampened by the fact that she has just returned from an injury.
Other weightlifting hopefuls include Premsiri Bunphitak, Pensiri Laosirikul and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Wandee Kam-eaim.
In tennis, Tamarine Tanasugarn is now Thailand's top hope after she won her fourth WTA Tour title at the Japan Open last week.
However, Tamarine is cautious about her chances and said that there will a number of fine players in the Asian Games tournament particular Chinese stars Li Na, Jie Zheng and Peng Shuai.
"Of course, I want to win but it will not be easy for me," said the 33-year-old.
Twins Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana were edged by Indian duo Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati in the men's doubles final in Qatar.
The Thai pair could be a surprise package in China although they have suffered a slump in form lately.
Defending men's champion Danai Udomchoke has been hit by injury and a dip in form and is not expect to retain the title.
In cue sport, veteran Ratchapol Phu-ob-orm (James Wattana) is Thailand's best bet in snooker but he will be up against Chinese stars led by world No 5 Ding Junhui in the tournament, so Ratchapol's prospects do not look bright.
Praprut Chaithanasakun (Rom Surin) and Udon Khaimuk won the billiards doubles gold medal in Doha. However, Sakda Rattanasuban, of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand, said 49-years-old Praput is not as good as he used to be.
In sailing, the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand is eyeing up to three gold medals from defending Hobie 16 champions Damrongsak and Krisada Vongtim, Kirati Bualong in Laser Radial and Noppakao Poonpat in Optimist.
The Skeet Association of Thailand targets two gold medals from Sutiya Jiewchalermmit in skeet and Jenjira Srisongkram in double trap.
Sutiya, who missed out on bronze at the 2008 Olympics, is ranked second in Asia in skeet.
In shooting, the Thai team are not expected to win gold as officials and certain veteran athletes have been engaged in a legal wrangle.
In boxing, the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (Abat) has struggled to find replacements for 2008 Olympic champion Somjit Jongjohor and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Manus Boonjumnong who have hung up their gloves.
Somjit was the only Thai boxer to win gold at the 2002 Asian Games and Manus was the sole boxing champion from Thailand in Doha.
Thailand's best prospects may be Chatchai Butdee and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Worapoj Petchkoom.
But before thinking about winning any medals, Thailand must first win an outside-the-ring battle.
The International Amateur Boxing Association (Aiba) has barred Thai fighters from taking part in the Guangzhou Games because Thai amateur boxing chief Gen Taweep Jantararoj is suspended for "continuously violating Aiba rules."
Taweep is appealing to the the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the suspension.
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