• Thai Women’s Badminton Wins Four Consecutive Golds at SEA Games

    MANILA — Thailand’s cinched its badminton women’s team gold for the fourth consecutive win Tuesday at the SEA Games.

    Thailand won 3–1 win over Indonesia in the best-of-five teams events, bringing Wednesday’s total gold count to eight.

    “I’m so happy to get the gold. We wouldn’t have succeeded if everyone didn’t work together as a team,” Chayanit Chaladchalam, 28, said. “This is our fourth medal, and we will continue to be champions since we’re all talented.”’

    In the first event, Ratchanok “May” Intanon, who was ranked the world’s No.1 in singles women badminton in 2016 and was also the first Thai to do so, won over Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, giving Thailand 1–0.

    Then in the second event, Rawinda “View” Prajongjai and Puttita “Earth” Supajirakul lost to Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani and Apriyani Rahayu, bringing the score to 1–1.

    In the third event, Busanan “Cream” Ongbamrungphan bested Fitriani in the third singles event, giving Thailand the 2–1 edge.

    Finally, Phataimas Muenwong, 24, and Chayanit teamed up against Siti Fadia Silva and Ribka Sugiarto to snag the gold. Notice Phataimas’s powerful smashes, as well as her yelling in victory at the end:

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    Ratchanok’s match against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung:

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    Ratchanok said the win bolstered her confidence, especially for the upcoming 2019 BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou on 11 to 15 Dec., where she and some of her teammates will be competing in.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, Thailand has won eight golds, 14 silvers, and 21 bronzes, bringing the medal tally to 43.

    The golds are in: 500m men’s short track speed skating, women’s team badminton, 10m air rifle shooting, men’s 90+kg kurash, women’s 57kg kurash, men’s team floorball, men’s cross-country cycling, and women’s water polo.


  • IOC Chief Falls for Beijing 2022 Olympics Panda Mascot

    LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Xinhua) — China has made a great choice with the animated giant panda named “Bing Dwen Dwen” as the mascot for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, says IOC chief Thomas Bach.

    Bach is a former member of the German Olympic fencing team and visited China last month as IOC president for the launch of the Olympic mascot. In Beijing, he met the top Beijing 2022 organizing committee and government officials.

    Xinhua interviewed him at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne after a visit to China in September for the unveiling of the mascot.

    “I loved this mascot from the first moment I saw it, a couple of weeks before the launch, and so did everybody because it represents so many positive things,” said Bach.

    “First of all, it’s very friendly, with its name Bing Dwen Dwen, relates to children and shows dynamism, friendliness and hospitality, so I’m really excited about it,” said the IOC chief.

    Beijing 2022 executive president Chen Jining had explained the idea behind the design of the two mascots (the other is for the Paralympic Games) at the launch ceremony in September.

    “The two mascots combine elements of traditional Chinese culture and a modern international style, as well as emphasizing the characteristics of ice and snow sports, and those of the host city.

    “They vividly show the Chinese people’s eager expectations for the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and China’s warm invitation to friends from all over the world,” said Chen, who is also the mayor of Beijing.

    He said they were designed to express the fullness of the Olympic spirit, with compassion, perseverance, friendship and mutual understanding to actively engage the public.


  • Thai Driver Alexander Albon Turning Heads in Formula 1

    SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Formula One has always had a solid following in Southeast Asia. Having Red Bull driver Alexander Albon performing as well as he is will only add to the sport’s popularity in the region.

    Born in London to a British father and a Thai mother, Albon races under the flag of Thailand. He is just the second Thai racer in F1 following Prince Bira, a member of the Thai Royal Family who raced in the early ’50s.

    Albon recorded a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix for his best result of the season, an indication that a podium finish is not too far off for the Thai driver.

    “Fourth is my F1 career best finish and this weekend has definitely felt like my best with the team,” Albon said. “Immediately from (the first practice) I felt comfortable with the car and the balance, which is important for a track like Suzuka where you need a lot of confidence, especially on your first visit.”

    After making his 2019 Formula One debut with Toro Rosso at the Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull announced in August that Albon would replace Pierre Gasly in the senior team with the swap effective from the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix where Albon rose from 17th on the grid to finish fifth, a result he matched in Russia.

    “Obviously it’s a big step, first year in Formula One and then being with the big team,” Albon said. “You’re with a team that has had a lot of previous success, world championships as well. So it was a bit nerve-racking but the team has been good to me. The first four races have been pretty good but you always want a little more.”

    While in Japan, the 23-year-old spoke of his Thai heritage and the enormous support he felt on a recent trip to Thailand.

    “Obviously, Thailand doesn’t have a big motorsport background,” Albon said. “But it’s certainly getting bigger and to race under the Thai flag I feel like I’m representing the country but also Asia in some respects. I’ve gone to Thailand three times this year already and every time I go there I realize how big it’s getting.”

    After Sunday’s impressive showing in Suzuka, Albon is on 64 points and ranked eighth in the drivers’ standings.

    Albon started racing karts at a young age. He enjoyed success in karting between 2006 and 2010 including titles at the 2006 Super 1 Honda National Championship, 2009 Super 1 Honda National Championship and the 2010 European Championship.

    And he hopes for a chance to one day wave the Thai flag on the winner’s podium.

    “To show that Thailand can compete in the top level, would always be a dream of mine,” Albon said. “So we’ll see but I’m not putting pressure on myself to say I need to finish in the top three, I think that’s kind of the wrong way to approach it but hopefully I keep improving every race, and getting more comfortable with the car and by the end of the year, who knows?”

    Story: Jim Armstrong


  • Badminton Champion Ratchanok Cleared of Doping

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former world badminton champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand has been cleared of a doping violation because she proved she ate contaminated meat.

    Ratchanok, ranked No. 5, tested positive for clenbuterol in an out-of-competition test in April, the Badminton World Federation said in a statement on Thursday.

    She faced a four-year ban, but the federation said an ethics hearing panel ruled “she was found to bear no fault or negligence for the violation, and thus no period of ineligibility has been imposed on her.”

    In her defense, she collected eight samples of beef and pork in July from a buffet restaurant she regularly eats at in Thailand, and testing discovered traces of clenbuterol, despite it being banned in Thailand since 2003. Because of that national ban, the panel agreed with her that she had no reason to know or suspect that she might eat contaminated meat.

    Farmers add clenbuterol to cattle feed to reduce fat.

    The panel also noted the clenbuterol in her system was also well below minimum levels of concern, and an anti-doping test of her two weeks beforehand was clean.

    Ratchanok became the youngest world champion in 2013 at 18, and she became the first Thai to reach No. 1 in the world in 2016.


  • Thailand 0-0 Vietnam, Malaysia Beats Indonesia in Heated World Cup Qualifiers

    Mohamadou Sumareh scored in the seventh minute of injury time to give Malaysia a 3-2 win over neighboring rival Indonesia on Thursday in a game that had to be temporarily halted because of crowd trouble, as the second round of Asian World Cup qualifying got underway.

    Malaysia had to come from behind twice to level the scores before the game was suspended for several minutes late in the second half because of clashes between fans from the two countries — who have a heated soccer rivalry. Video footage showed some supporters running onto the track surrounding the pitch, apparently trying to get to opposing fans.

    When the game restarted, Sumareh met a low cross for a close-range finish deep into stoppage time.

    Rabia Al-Mandhar also scored in injury time as Oman stunned India 2-1, while Mongolia and North Korea both picked up wins.

    Sunil Chhetri gave India the lead midway through the first half but Al-Mandhar equalized in the 83rd minute before curling in a right-footed shot to decide the Group E match.

    Mongolia, ranked 187th in the world and playing in the second round of qualifying for the first time, beat Myanmar 1-0 in Ulaanbaatar. Amaraa Dulguun scored the lone goal in the 17th minute of the Group F match.

    North Korea defeated Lebanon 2-0 in Group H with Jong Il Gwan scoring both goals in Pyongyang, while Thailand and Vietnam drew 0-0.

    The winner of each of the eight groups and the four best second-place teams will advance to the next round.

    Story: John Duerden 


  • China’s Lin Dan Suffers Earliest Exit at Badminton Worlds

    BASEL (Xinhua) — Five-time winner Lin Dan suffered his shocking defeat at the World Badminton Championships as he was beaten in the second round by India’s H.S. Prannoy here on Tuesday.

    Lin, also a twice Olympic champion, went down to the 30th-ranked Prannoy 21-11, 13-21, 21-7 in just 62 minutes.

    It was Lin’s earliest exit in his 12 appearances at the World Championships. He was defeated twice previously in the third round — in 2003 when he played for the first time at the age of 19 and last year in Guangzhou, south China.

    “I don’t have enough energy in today’s match, especially in the first set,” he said. “I played better in the second but in the third I just ran out of energy.”

    Lin, who turns 36 in October, blames organizers for “unfair” arrangement of the match schedule, which gave him mere 15 hours to recover from the first round match.

    He completed the three-set victory over Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam at nearly 6:00 Monday afternoon and arrived at the venue early Tuesday morning.

    “Some players who played much earlier than me yesterday will play their second round match later today,” he said. “I just hope that organizers could make the schedule fairer.”

    Lin, arguably one of the greatest players in history, said he has not decided whether to compete in the 2021 World Championships.

    “I have not thought about it,” he said. “At the moment, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games is the most important thing. Since I have not collected enough points here, I need to do much better at the tournaments in Changzhou and Hong Kong later this years.”

    Lin, the Olympic champion at the Beijing and London Games, is facing great pressure to get one of the maximum two tickets in the men’s singles for Tokyo 2020.


  • Gauff, Just 15, Shocks 5-Time Champ Venus, 39, at Wimbledon

    WIMBLEDON — Coco Gauff grew up admiring the Williams sisters. Picked up a tennis racket as a little girl because of them. And on Monday at Wimbledon, still just 15, Gauff beat one of them.

    Gauff, the youngest competitor to qualify at the All England Club in the professional era, showed the poise and power of a much older, much more experienced player, pulling off a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the first round over Venus Williams, who at 39 was the oldest woman in the field.

    When it ended, Gauff dropped her racket and put her hands on her head. After a handshake and exchange of words at the net with Williams, Gauff knelt by her sideline chair and tears welled in her eyes. Up in the stands, her father leaped out of his seat.

    “Honestly, I don’t really know how to feel. This is the first time I ever cried after a match. Or winning, obviously; I’ve cried after a loss before,” said Gauff, who is based in Florida. “I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.”

    This was her third tour-level match; Williams has played more than 1,000. This was Gauff’s first match at Wimbledon, where Williams has played more than 100 and won five titles. By the time Gauff was born in 2004, Williams already had spent time at No. 1 in the rankings and owned four of her seven Grand Slam singles trophies.

    “It didn’t really seem real, for a moment,” said Gauff’s father, Corey, between handshakes and slaps on the back and requests for selfies from spectators leaving No. 1 Court. “On the walk to the court, I was walking behind her. She was excited. I was excited. She seemed confident, but I wasn’t sure if it was false confidence or she really was. I just said to her: This match is really magical. Just enjoy it. Your first Wimbledon main draw and you’re on a main court against somebody you looked up to from the beginning.”

    It was by far the most anticipated match of Day 1 at the grass-court tournament, but hardly the only upset. Two-time major champion Naomi Osaka, who was No. 1 until a week ago, lost 7-6 (4), 6-2 to Yulia Putinseva, joining two young members of the men’s top-10, No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the way out.

    This one, though, was special, potentially the sort of changing-of-the-guard moment that people could remember for years.

    Gauff certainly has the mindset of someone who intends to go far.

    “I’ve said this before: I want to be the greatest. My dad told me that I could do this when I was 8. Obviously you never believe it. I’m still, like, not 100 percent confident. But, like, you have to just say things. You never know what happens,” she said. “If I went into this match saying, ‘Let’s see how many games I can get against her,’ then I most definitely would not have won. My goal was to play my best. My dream was to win. That’s what happened.”

    How far does she think she can fare this fortnight?

    “My goal,” she said, her face expressionless, “is to win it.”

    Well, then …

    Gauff came into the week outside the top 300 but was granted a wild card by the All England Club to enter qualifying. She rolled through those rounds at a nearby site, knocking off the event’s top seed.

    But this was a whole other task.

    Gauff was sensational and showed zero signs that the moment or the matchup was too daunting for her. It’s the sort of unusual calm and steady way she has progressed through the various levels of youth tennis, including reaching the U.S. Open junior final at 13 and winning the French Open junior title at 14.

    The first set was remarkable: Gauff had 10 winners to only two unforced errors, all the while trading powerful groundstrokes at the baseline with Williams, and never facing a break point.

    “The sky’s the limit,” Williams said. “It really is.”

    Gauff, who is black, idolized Williams and her younger sister, Serena, the first African American women since Althea Gibson in the 1950s to win a Grand Slam singles championship.

    Serena has said Gauff reminds her of Venus.

    After Monday’s match, Gauff said she thanked Venus “for everything she did.”

    “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” said Gauff, who joined the crowd in applauding for Venus as she walked off the court. “And I was just telling her that she’s so inspiring. Like, I always wanted to tell her that. And even though I met her before, I guess now I have the guts to.”

    She showed plenty of grit in this match, particularly after getting broken to make it 4-all in the second set. Gauff steadied herself right there, though, breaking right back with a pair of forehand passing shots that drew errant volleys.

    And then in the final game, Gauff needed to erase the disappointment of wasting her initial three match points. She did just that, converting her fourth when Venus put a forehand into the net.

    Many 15-year-olds might spend an early summer day at the beach or at a mall. This one played a tennis match at Wimbledon against Venus Williams — and won.

    “People just kind of limit themselves too much. Once you actually get your goal, then it’s like: What do you do now?” Gauff said. “I like to shoot really high.”

    Story: Howard Fendrich.


  • It’s On: The World Cup Clash Between the US and France

    United States'Megan Rapinoe celebrates at the end of the Women's World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and US at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Monday, June 24, 2019. US beat Spain 2-1. Photo: Alessandra Tarantino / AP
    United States’Megan Rapinoe celebrates at the end of the Women’s World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and US at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Monday, June 24, 2019. US beat Spain 2-1. Photo: Alessandra Tarantino / AP

    PARIS — It wasn’t just the fans who were looking forward to a quarterfinal clash between France and the defending champion United States at the Women’s World Cup. Megan Rapinoe clearly was, too.

    “I hope it’s huge and crazy. That’s what it should be,” Rapinoe said just after the match was set. “This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted. I think we wanted it, seems like they’re up for it, you guys are of course are up for it, and all the fans.”

    While the players said the focus for the United States was always on one game at a time, Rapinoe voiced the underlying truth about the match in Paris on Friday: It was circled on everyone’s World Cup calendar since December’s draw.

    “It’s going to be totally awesome. This is what everybody wants. And these are the biggest games that you kind of dream about as a kid,” Rapinoe said.

    The United States advanced with a physically challenging win over Spain in the round of 16, while France scored in extra time to get past resilient Brazil.

    The top-ranked U.S. team breezed through its group stage at the World Cup, pouncing on Thailand 13-0 before more balanced victories over Chile and rival Sweden. But Spain posed a challenge to the three-time champions, relentlessly targeting Alex Morgan and using brawn to counter the Americans’ superior speed.

    Rapinoe scored on a pair of penalty kicks for the 2-1 victory in Reims on Monday night, although the game-winner in the 75th minute was the result of what many thought was at best minimal contact between Spain’s Virginia Torrecilla and Rose Lavelle. The foul was confirmed after video review.

    Lavelle insisted afterward: “I didn’t flop.”

    Players said the difficult match was crucial to the team’s preparation going into the quarterfinal against the fourth-ranked French, the first time the U.S. has faced the host in a World Cup. The Americans could also face No. 3 England if they go through to the semifinals.

    “I think this game was extremely important to us, looking forward to France,” Morgan said. “It was a very challenging game and it showed a little bit of what we might see in France, so this was an important stepping stone for us looking forward.”

    France also got a tough test out of the way.

    Les Bleues finished atop their group with three wins before surviving their knockout opener. Captain Amandine Henry redirected Amel Majri’s free kick for a tiebreaking goal in the 107th minute of a 2-1 victory Sunday night in Le Havre. Valérie Gauvin, whose first-half goal was disallowed in a video review, put France ahead early in the second but Thaisa tied the score 11 minutes later for No. 10 Brazil.

    Afterward, French coach Corinne Diacre was critical of her team, saying, “We weren’t at our best.”

    “Obviously, I know my players inside out. I know that we weren’t 100 percent today and the objective is to hit that 100 percent for the next game,” Diacre said through a translator. “Will this happen? I don’t know. I don’t have a magic wand. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t see into the future. But it’s something that we’re working on.”

    The Americans have played the French 23 times, with France winning just three. But one of those was a friendly in January, when Kadidiatou Diani — who wasn’t named to France’s World Cup roster — scored twice in a 3-1 victory.

    The match Friday, while great for the sport, also means one of the favorites will be headed home on Saturday. A lopsided draw put three of the world’s top teams on one side of the bracket, while No. 2 Germany tops the other.

    The Germans, two-time World Cup winners, won their knockout round opener 3-0 against No. 38 Nigeria, setting up a quarterfinal Saturday against No. 9 Sweden in Rennes. The Swedes knocked Canada out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory on Monday night.

    U.S. coach Jill Ellis acknowledged the final-in-the-quarterfinals feel to Friday’s match.

    “I truly believe this is the world game for women, and so what a showcase piece. I’m sure a lot of people would like it later in the tournament, but it is what it is,” Ellis said. “Myself and probably Corinne are both like, ‘We’ve got good players, good teams and good setups, so let’s go for it.’”

    Story: Anne M. Peterson.


  • Chonburi named 1 of 6 sports provinces

    The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has designated Chonburi as one of the country’s six sports provinces.

    A panel formed in April as part of National Sports Development Plan for 2017-2021 tapped six locales to build the country’s sports industry and tourism.

    The other provinces are Buri Ram, Krabi, Si Saket, Suphan Buri and Udon Thani.

    Pattaya’s large indoor stadium, football arena, golf courses, beaches and many bicycle routes has powered Chonburi’s efforts to become a center for sporting events.

    Competitive events held in the province include motorcycle racing, basketball, petanque, sepak takraw, football, swimming, aerobics and yoga.
                                                                                                                                                                Source: Pattaya Mail
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