Glory to the King

There was a big turnout on Friday in Bangkok, for the “Glory to the King” badminton invitational in honour of the Thai King’s 87th birthday. Fans in attendance were treated […]

There was a big turnout on Friday in Bangkok, for the “Glory to the King” badminton in honour of the Thai King’s 87th birthday. Fans in attendance were treated to a pleasant afternoon of music, singing, light shows and Thai dancing, with a little badminton thrown into the mix.

Story and photos by Gerald Jew, live in Bangkok.

Although the advertised featured match between and Lee Chong Wei failed to materialize due to sanctions imposed by the BWF regarding Lee’s current suspension, the Thai fans didn’t seem too disappointed when Thai favourite Boonsak Ponsana (pictured left with Lin Dan) stepped in to take Lee’s place. Lin disposed of Ponsana in two games, in the type of match you would expect to see at an exhibition, 21-15, 21-10.


Lee Chong Wei (pictured right) was in attendance during the entire afternoon, but only as a spectator and posing for pictures.  Ponsana, who flew in Friday morning from Kuala Lumpur, where he is participating in the Axiata Cup, jumped at the chance to take Lee’s spot.

“I really wanted to come to Bangkok to play Lin Dan, so it was no problem for me to fly this morning, and to honour the King,” Ponsana said afterward.

The other two matches of the day were mixed doubles and men’s doubles, both three-game affairs. The mixed doubles saw Indonesia’s Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad, the world’s 4th ranked pair, defeat Thailand’s Kunchala Voravichitchaikul and Songphon Anugritayawon (pictured below), 21-13, 17-21 and 21-17.

Anugritayawon, who recently returned to competition after a lengthy hiatus, commented after the match, “I took a break from badminton for a while.  I just didn’t feel good about playing and wanted some time off.  I’m ready to go, but since we have no and will need to qualify [for tournaments] now, it won’t be easy.”

In the men’s doubles, the world #2 duo from Indonesia, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan, beat Thailand’s Bodin Issara and Pakkawat Vilailak in the closest match of the day, 21-19, 15-21, 21-19.

Mr. Jane Piyatat, the president of Granular, which co-sponsored and organized the exhibition, was quite pleased with the events of the afternoon, saying: “The King has supported badminton in Thailand for over 60 years, and we just wanted to give back to the King on his birthday.”

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