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Thais accomplish four-gold mission

PARALYMPICS: Thai wheelchair racer Prawat Wahoram cemented his status as the country’s best-ever Paralympic athlete when he notched his seventh gold medal overall and second of the Rio Games yesterday (Sept 14).

Bangkok Post

Thursday 15 September 2016, 10:07AM

Saichon Konjen with his bronze medal. Photo: Press Release
Saichon Konjen with his bronze medal. Photo: Press Release

Prawat’s achievement in the men’s 1,500m-T54 also helped Thailand meet their four-gold target at the 15th Paralympics.

With five golds from four Paralympic appearances before the 2016 Games, the Sa Kaeo native had gone to Rio in the hope of getting back into the winning circle after failing to claim a title at London 2012.

However, Prawat has already bettered his target for this year’s Paralympics, winning both events he has competed in Rio so far.

The 35-year-old yesterday added the 1,500m-T54 title to his gold in the 5,000m-T54.

Of his seven Olympic gold medals, five have come through individual events (three in 5,000m, one in 10,000m and another in 1,500m).

“I am really happy with the success,” said Prawat, who made his debut at the Sydney Paralympics at the age of 19.

It is an improved performance by Prawat after managing only two silver medals in the event at the last two editions.

Upsetting both defending champion David Weir of Great Britain and world champion Rawat Tana of Thailand, veteran Prawat clocked 3.00.62min to take the gold ahead of runner-up Marcel Hug of Switzerland (3.00.65).

In the 3rd place was another Thai, Saichon Konjen (3.00.86).

Weir came in 4th, while Rawat did not finish the race due to an accident.

Rawat, one of the pre-event favourites, failed to repeat his title-winning shows in two events he dominated at the last year’s World Championships. Earlier, he finished 6th in the 5,000m.

Prawat is expected to win one more gold medal from two of his remaining events.

“I have two more events to compete – the 800m and 4x400m relay,” he said. “Hopefully, the Thai fans will continue supporting and encouraging us.’

Prawat, Rawat and Saichon will compete in the 800m today.

Prawat and Saichon took the bronze in the event in the 2008 and 2012 editions, respectively.

They will face old rivals in vying for the gold with both defending champion Weir and silver medallist Hug in the field.

Elsewhere, Thailand also earned two more silver medals from archery, Hanreuchai Netsiri (men’s individual recurve – Open) and wheelchair fencer Saysunee Jana (women’s individual epee-B).

Hanreuchai lost 7-3 to Gholamreza Rahimi of Iran in the final, while defending champion Saysunee lost 15-10 to China’s Asian Para Games champion Zhou Jingjing.

“I am sorry to the fans that I could not take home the gold,” said 42-year-old Saysunee.

“I was under pressure after getting injured. I felt better after the semi-final but it was not good enough.

“I will try again next time.”

Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, president of the Paralympic Committee of Thailand, said the Thai contingent will surpass its target as there are some remaining events in which the Kingdom’s athletes are expected to fare well.

“So far, we have got four gold, three silver and three bronze medals and have already met our target,” he said.

“We are hoping for more success in the men’s 800m wheelchair racing and boccia.”

In boccia, Pattaya Tadtong, who is defending his mixed individual B1 title, blanked Yurikoo Fujiee of Japan 18-0 in his opening match in Pool A. He next faces China's Sun Kai and Brazil’s Jose Carlos Chagas in the other two group games.

Read original story here.



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