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Last-day heroics take Thai medal haul to 18

Last-day heroics take Thai medal haul to 18

PARALYMPICS: Badminton players Sujirat Pookkham and Amnouy Wetwitan earned Thailand’s 18th medal on the last day of competition as the Kingdom’s athletes concluded the Paralympic Games with five gold, five silver and eight bronze in Tokyo.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 6 September 2021, 09:47AM

Badminton players Sujirat Pookkham, left, and Amnouy Wetwitan pose with their bronze medals. Photo: PR Dept

Badminton players Sujirat Pookkham, left, and Amnouy Wetwitan pose with their bronze medals. Photo: PR Dept

The Thai pair defeated Cynthia Mathez and Karin Suter Erath of Switzerland 2-0 (21-11, 21-12) in the bronze medal match of the women’s wheelchair doubles WH1-WH2 event at Yoyogi National Stadium.

The 35-year-old Sujirat also won silver on Saturday in the WH1 singles event of the sport making its Paralympic debut in Tokyo.

However Jakarin Homhual and Dumnern Junthong were unable to make it a double for Thailand after they lost to Japan’s Daiki Kajiwara and Hiroshi Murayama 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) in the men’s doubles WH1-WH2 bronze medal contest.

Thailand ended the COVID-delayed tournament with the same number of medals they had won in Rio Games five years ago but the previous campaign remained the country’s most successful with six gold, six silver and six bronze.

Four of the five gold medals the Thai contingent won in Tokyo came from wheelchair racing as Pongsakorn Paeyo claimed a golden hat-trick with victories in the men’s 100m, 400m and 800m T53 events while Athiwat Paeng-Nuea, who also won silver in the 400m T54 event, claimed the 100m T54 title.

The boccia team, who also won in London 2012 and Rio 2016, completed their historic hat-trick and earned the country’s fifth gold following an impressive 8-2 win against China in the BC1/BC2 event on Saturday.

Wheelchair fencer Saysunee Jana was Thailand’s first medallist at Tokyo 2020 after she took bronze in the individual epee.

Other medallists are boccia stars Watcharaphon Vongsa and Pornchok Larpyen (silver, individual BC2, individual BC4), wheelchair racers Prawat Wahoram (silver, 1,500 T54), Putharet Khongrak (bronze, 1,500m and 5,000m T54) and Saichon Konjen (bronze, 800m T54 event), table tennis star Rungroj Thainiyom (bronze, men’s singles Class 6), taekwondo star Khwansuda Phuangkitcha (bronze, women’s K44 49kg), the men’s table tennis team (bronze, Class 3).

Pongsakorn has a chance to become the Kingdom’s most successful Paralympian in Paris 2024. The 24-year-old wheelchair racer has so far won five gold medals and could surpass the 40-year-old Prawat, who has won seven gold medals.

Under the National Sports Development Fund’s bonus scheme for Paralympians, a champion will get B7.2 million, a silver winner B4.8mn, and a bronze medallist B3mn.

Silver bullet’

The day’s sporting action began with the early morning marathon events, with Swiss wheelchair master Marcel Hug retaining his T54 crown in a time of 1hr 24min 2sec.

It was ‘Silver bullet’ Hug’s sixth Paralympic gold of his career.

In the women’s T54 marathon, Australian Madison de Rozario clung on to finish ahead of Swiss great Manuela Schaer, winning the gold by just one second.

“That was the longest 500 metres of my life,” de Rozario told reporters after finishing in a Paralympic record of 1:38.11.

Elsewhere, the United States beat China 3-1 to take gold in women’s sitting volleyball, with the two teams meeting in the final for the fourth straight Games.

The US also claimed gold in men’s wheelchair basketball, beating Japan 64-60 after a fourth-quarter comeback.

In shooting, Slovakian Veronika Vadovicova won the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 final after edging out Sweden’s Anna Normann and Spain’s Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo. 

Additional reporting by AFP

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