Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk aims the gold medal in (SEA) Games

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 08:32 GMT, May 7, 2015 |

Badminton player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, one of Thailand’s top contenders in the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore, says he hopes to defend his gold medal and aim for the Olympics. Twenty-five-year-old Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, won a gold medal for men’s single badminton in Myanmar in 2013 when he defeated Indonesian Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 22-20, 21-17. It was the first gold medal for Thailand in badminton since 1975. Tanongsak, known for his strong offensive style, says he’s getting his game in shape for the competition.

“My strong point is my offensive style. I’ll try to work on that and I’ll try to fix my weak point as well.” said Tanongsak.
The 18th-ranked world badminton player said the SEA Games is a game of honour. “This game (SEA Games) doesn’t have any ranking but it is a game of honour. Everybody wants to win this game. My gold medal last time was the first time for Thailand in 38 years,” said Tanongsak. Watcharapan Kamthong, a four-time badminton champion from Thailand and currently a coach for Tanongsak, said he hopes Thailand will have a chance to face off against two-time Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia.

“The tough competitor would be Lee Chong Wei. Lee Chong Wei has just been released from a ban (on playing) and he should be in SEA Games this time. I hope they are in different brackets. I hope they will meet in the final game. I hope he will play against Lee Chong Wei in Singapore,” said Watcharapan. Lee was banned for eight months for doping by the Badminton World Federation. His sanction was lifted on May 1. Malaysia announced it would send the former world number one Lee in their badminton squad for the SEA Games. But Malaysia later said he would only compete in the men’s team events, which means the two will not meet on the court in Singapore.

If Tanongsak can defend his SEA Games championship, his coach said the team would aim for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “I have high hope for the Olympics in Brazil. We have prepared a team, coach, and staff. We expect to be a part of the Olympic Games,” said Watcharapan. Singapore will host the biennial games from June 5-16. The multi-sport event involves participants from 11 countries of Southeast Asia. Seven badminton events will be held at the 28th SEA Games.