MOSCOW : Heptathlete Wassana Winatho flew the Thai flag with pride at this week's IAAF World Athletics Championships.
The 33-year old Asian champion from Pathum Thani amassed, by her standards, a modest 5,671 points over the seven events but finished with a flurry, throwing a career best in the javelin throw on the second and final day of heptathlon on Tuesday.
The diminutive Thai, one of the smallest athletes in a competition where height and power are undoubted assets, sensationally added over six metres to her previous best with a throw of 41.74m, bettered only in her pool by new world champion Ganna Melnichenko from the Ukraine.
"I'm very happy with that," said Wassana, who also claimed her season's bests in the 100m hurdles and 200m on the first day.
"I spent four years getting over an injury to my right arm and can now throw properly again."
Wassana endured an opening day of mixed fortunes which put her well down the field overall.
She claimed two bests this year _ 13.88 seconds in the 100m hurdles and 24.94 seconds in the 200m, just two-tenths of a second outside a personal best set at the 2007 SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima.
She bemoaned difficulty with her footing after a disappointing high jump. But Wassana's magnificent second day effort with the javelin throw wiped away any frustrations and helped erase the memories of the last world championships in Daegu, South Korea 2011 when, after setting a new personal best of 13.62 seconds in the opening 100m hurdles, she was forced to retire following the high jump.
Jumrut Rittidet, the only other Thai representative in Moscow, failed to qualify from the heats of the men's 110m hurdles, managing only a disappointing 14.71 seconds.
Laos has only one athlete at the event, hurdler Xaysa Anousone who also went out in the heats. Without even a coach here, the 19-year-old was looked after by the Thai team. He went out in his heat, finishing last with a time of 16.21 seconds.
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Writer: Keith Mcghie