The weightlifters are inexperienced, the boxers old and even the promising taekwando fighters face fierce competition, leading experts to warn an Olympic gold for Thailand is not a sure thing.
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National taekwondo coach Choi Young Seok, second right, and his Olympic fighters, from left, Pen-ek Karaket, Chanatip Sonkham and Rangsiya Nisaisom.
Ever since Boxer Payao Poontarat became Thailand's first Olympic medallist when he took a bronze at the 1976 Montreal Games, the kingdom has won at least one medal in every Games it has taken part in.
Thailand's first Olympic gold was won by boxer Somluck Kamsing at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and it has since claimed at least one gold in every Olympics.
Experts are worried, however, that the golden run may end in London.
Of the 37 Thai athletes who will be competing at the July 27-Aug 12 Olympics, only a few have a genuine chance of winning a medal – and most of those do not include gold.
Boxing has traditionally been Thailand’s strongest sport. In all, boxers have won 13 medals (four golds, three silvers and six bronzes) out of Thailand's 21 medals.
This time around, however, gold, and maybe silver and bronze as well, look to be out of reach for Thailand’s three contenders, Kaew Pongprayoon (49kg), Sailom Ardee (52kg) and Chatchai Butdee (60kg).
According to Juan Fontanils, the former national boxing coach, the trio, all above the age of 25, will face fierce competition from much younger and faster boxers.
Woman’s weightlifting has been another bright spot in recent years, but Thailand’s female lifters at London are young and inexperienced at the highest level and seem unlikely to claim gold.
The quartet are Panida Khamsri and Siriwimol Pramongkol in the 48kg division, and Pimsiri Sirikaew and Rattikan Gulnoi in the 58kg category.
None of them have ever won a major title at senior level.
Most observers are pinning their biggest medal hopes on the three taekwando athletes – Pen-ek Karaket (men's 52kg), Chanatip Sonkham (women's 49kg) and Rangsiya Nisaisom (women's 57kg).
Pen-ek, 22, is the team's best hope after the country's top fighter Chutchawal Khaw-laor retired in May due to injury.
He is seeded third so he has a high chance of advancing to the later rounds.
"I always expect a gold medal in every event I compete in. I never think, 'Oh I'll do my best and that's good enough!' Everyone wants gold at the Olympics but there is only one winner. I must make it," said Pen-ek, whose name loosely means "to be number one."
Chanatip, 21, was Beijing silver medalist Buttree Puedpong’s training partner so she should know what it takes to win an Olympic medal.
"I want to win a medal for my parents," said the Phatthalung fighter.
Rangsiya, 18, is the reigning 62kg world champion but she will compete in the 57kg division in London because weight classes at the Olympics and other major events are different.
Thailand's Korean coach Choi Young Seok said: "It may be our time to win gold and everybody expects us to achieve that.”
You can read the full, much longer story here: https://bit.ly/MPwxzU
streak – a series of successes or failures, especially in a sport or in gambling; a run การต่อเนื่อง, ช่วงชัยชนะหรือความสูญเสีย
expectations – the belief/hope that something will happen สิ่งที่คาด คิดว่าจะเกิดขึ้นในอนาคต
medalist (or medallist) – a person who has received a medal, usually for winning a competition in a sport ผู้ได้รับเหรียญ
bronze – a dark reddish-brown metal made by mixing copper and tin ทองสัมฤทธ์, ทองแดง
claim – saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
genuine – real; honest แท้
traditionally – of something that has not changed for a long time ตามที่ปฏิบัติกันมา
out of reach – impossible to achieve ไม่สามารถทำได้; ไม่สามารถที่จะบรรลุความสำเร็จ
contender – someone or something who competes with other people or things for a prize คู่ต่อสู้, คู่แข่ง
trio – a group of three people กลุ่มที่ประกอบด้วย 3 คน
fierce – very strong รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
bright spot – something successful or good
quartet – a group of four people or things กลุ่มที่มีสี่คน, กลุ่มที่มีสี่อย่าง
category – a group having similar qualities ประเภท
level – a position or rank in a scale of size or importance ระดับ
senior level – the highest level in a competition ระดับสูงสุดในการแข่งขัน
observer – a person who watches what happens but has no active part in it; a person who watches and analyses a situation ผู้สังเกตการณ์,ผู้ออกความเห็น
pin your hopes on – to depend upon someone doing something for you
athlete – someone who is good at sports and takes part in sports competitions นักกีฬา
retire – to stop playing a sport as a professional or serious player because you are too old, have an injury or no longer have the desire อำลาวงการ
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
injury – physical damage done to a person or a part of their body อาการบาดเจ็บ
seeded – given a place on the list of those expected to win games in a particular competition because of the way they have played in the past ถูกจัดให้เป็นผู้แข่งขันชั้นนำ
advance – to move forward, in this case, to the next round of the tournament เข้ารอบ
reigning champion – the current champion แชมป์ปัจจุบัน
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