UNIVERSIADE — Thais Troubled By East Asians in Universaide Individuals

As host, Thailand may have fielded the entire national team for the 2007 Universiade but keen competition from East Asian representatives has prevented Thailand from having a desired clean sweep […]

ImageAs host, Thailand may have fielded the entire national team for the 2007 but keen competition from East Asian representatives has prevented Thailand from having a desired clean sweep at home.

By Jan Lin, Badzine Correspondent. Pictures: badmintonphoto (archives)

In the 2007 Universiade individual finals held in Bangkok this afternoon, Thailand will star in only 2 out of the 5 finals, Taipei is the biggest winner with representatives in 4 events, China in 3 and Korea in 1.

The men’s singles event is perhaps the most star-studded with Chen Hong, Boonsak Ponsana (pictured top) and Poompat Sapkulchannart marching into the semi-finals yesterday. Taipei’s national team men’s singles player Liao Sheng-Shiun completed the semi-final line-up.

Business student Poompat gave Chen Hong a good run for his money, taking the Chinese veteran to 3 games before succumbing 17-21, 23-25, 17-21. Meanwhile, Boonsak took out Liao Sheng-Shuin with ease 21-9, 21-14 to set up a repeat of his 2007 Thailand Open final against Chen Hong.

Thailand’s top women’s singles player, Salakjit Ponsana, suffered an upset in her quarter-final match against China’s 2006 China Masters women’s singles champion Wang Lin, currently ranked 42nd in the world.

Wang Lin’s fairytale run was ended in the semi-finals by world number 21 Cheng Shao-Chieh of Taipei, who was the 2004 World Champion in girls’ singles. Thailand had a survivor in the women’s singles semi-finals – national number 2 Meemek Monthila – but she fell to the reigning World Champion and recent China Super Series quarter-finalist Wang Yihan of China in their semi-final tie.

Thailand made up for the absenteeism in the women’s singles final today by having a Thai representative in the men’s doubles final. World number 49 pair Sudket Prapakamol/Phattapol Ngensrisuk repeated their dominance, from the team event, of Chinese pair Zhang Wei/Shen Ye, beating them in straight sets 21-13, 23-21.

Compatriots Songphon Anugritayawon/Nattapon Narkthong failed to overcome Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Chia Hsin/ Hsieh Yu-Hsing, losing that gruelling 3-game match by the nerve-racking scores of 25-27, 23-21, 21-19.

Thailand’s world number 20 women’s doubles pair of Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kunchala Voravichitch could not resist China’s rising women’s doubles pair world number 36 Pan Pan/Tian Qing. Pan/Tian are the recent Philippine Open runners-up.

Interestingly, the finals of the 2007 Universiade will be a repeat of the Philippines Open women’s doubles final as the title-holders from last month’s event, Chien Yu Chin/Cheng Wen Hsing, defeated China’s scratch pair 21-19, 21-12 in the other semi-final.

Thailand also lost their sole semi-finalist in the mixed doubles event, where they were represented by mixed doubles ace Sudket Prapakamol, who formed a scratch partnership with Boonsak’s younger sister, Law student Salakjit Ponsana. Prapakamol/Ponsana were gunned down by Chinese Taipei’s Fang Chieh Min/Cheng Wen Hsing 21-16, 21-18.

Fang/Cheng will play the sole Korean survivor – Kim Min-Jung and Yoo Yeon-Seong – who defeated China’s Chen Xu/Zhang Dan 21-14, 23-21 to book their place in the 2007 Universiade’s mixed doubles finals, which will begin at 1pm this afternoon.

2007 Universaide Individual Finals Line-up

Mixed Doubles

Yoo Yeon-seong/Kim Min-jung (KOR) vs Fang Chieh Min/Cheng Wen Hsing (TPE)

Men’s Singles

Boonsak Ponsana (THA) vs Chen Hong (CHN)

Women’s Singles

Cheng Shao-Chieh (TPE) vs Wang Yihan (CHN)

Women’s Doubles

Pan Pan/Tian Qing (CHN) vs Chien Yu Chin/Cheng Wen Hsing (TPE)

Men’s Doubles

Sudket Prapakamol/Phattapol Ngensrisuk (THA) vs Tsai Chia Hsin/ Hsieh Yu-Hsing (TPE)

About Jan Lin