Nong May's busy day

Winning the women's singles final at the world badminton championships in China was the easy part. The hard part now for Ratchanont Intanon is trying to find time to sleep.

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Ratchanont Intanon is congratulated by her mother Khampan Suwansala, left, and Mother Puk, Kamala Thongkorn. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

Nong May's busy day

Winning the women's singles final at the world badminton championships in China was the easy part.

The hard part now is trying to find time to sleep.  Ratchanok Intanon, the new world badminton champion, has been in constant demand since her arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday night.

Ratchanont hasn't had many hours of sleep since becoming women's world badminton Champion on Sunday in China. AFP

Waiting for her was a large media contingent and bouquets of flowers from HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

In her first of many interviews with Thai reporters she said "I feel grateful to Their Majesties the King and the Queen and the other members of the royal family who have supported badminton in the country."

"I will try to win as many titles as possible. My next two goals are to be the world No.1 within two years and to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games."

Yesterday, Ratchanont, or Nong May, as she is known locally, was up early for festivities honouring Her Majesty the Queen on her birthday.

The 18-year-old was among 96 award recipients for showing gratitude to their parents on National Mother's Day – Her Majesty the Queen's birthday –  yesterday. The ceremony was presided over by HHR Princess Soamsawali.

Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, a former national team player, gave Ratchanok bouquets of flowers to congratulate her yesterday.

Ratchanont, holding her bouquet from Her Majesty the Queen, talks to Khunying Patama Leesawadtrakul, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand. THITI WANNAMONTA

"It is really a great feeling that my win came just before such a special occasion so I can give my win and the award as a Mother's Day present for my mother and Mother Puk, who is my second mother," Ratchanok said.

"Without their support, I would not have been able to come this far."

Mother Puk is Kamala Thongkorn, owner of Banthongyord badminton school where Ratchanok has been staying and training.

Her mother, Khampan Suwansala, said that after being born in a poor family, Ratchanok was taught to respect people, be polite and work hard.

"We are really proud of her and I want her to be a good example for everybody," Khampan said.

Ratchanok is expected to move to No.2 from No.3 when the next world rankings are announced this week.

After her dramatic win at the world championships, Ratchanont sounded full of confidence.

She reached the quarter-finals at last year's Olympics, winning the first set against China's Wang Xin and building a big lead in the second set, only to run out of steam and lose the match.

"It is completely different now – I am much stronger," she said.

"I was exhausted at the Olympics but I still had a lot of energy in the deciding set at the world championships.

"I am also fitter mentally. As you saw at the world championships, I came back from seven points down to win the first set. I just told myself if I was going to lose then I would not lose without a fight. Fortunately, I won the fight.

"I felt relaxed but my opponent looked under pressure."

Adapted from a story by Kittipong Thongsombat in today's Bangkok Post.

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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