Hosts loom large over Thai ambitions
published : 4 Dec 2019 at 04:14
newspaper section: Sports
Apart from a lucky few, most of the Thai boxers at the SEA Games have been drawn to face the fighters from the Philippines before the title matches.
The official draw for the men and women's boxing competitions of the Games was held yesterday.
This wouldn't go down well with Thailand's Cuban coach Juan Fontanills who earlier said he did not want his fighters to face the Philippines' boxers in early rounds.
"I want my boxers to meet them in the finals," said Fontanills.
Thailand have set themselves the target of winning a total of five gold medals in the boxing tournament scheduled from Dec 4-9.
Wuttichai Masuk, the Kingdom's top bet for a title, needs to win the only fight against Grece Savon of Indonesia in the men's 69kg class to set up a final with the Philippines' Marjon Pianar. There are only three boxers taking part in this category.
Another Thai hopeful, Chatchaidecha (formerly Chatchai) Butdee, is drawn to take on Mandagie Jill of Indonesia. A win in the men's 56kg opener will pit him against the host country's Ian Clark Bautista.
Ammarit Yaodam, who is among the lucky ones to have avoided the home fighters, has been given a bye to the semi-finals in the men's 52kg category.
Khunatip Pidnuch will start his campaign for the men's 60kg gold with a last-eight clash with Viset Sam of Cambodia and won't face the Filipino contender in the category until the final.
Atichai Phoemsap could face the Philippines' James Palicte in the men's 64kg semi-finals, provided he can beat Libertus Gha of Indonesia in his first fight.
Anavat Thangrakthok has been given a bye to semi-finals of the men's 81kg class with home hope John Nobel Marvin being in the other half of the draw.
In the women's events, Sudaporn Seesondee was placed in the upper half and escaped an early meeting with Filipina Riza Pasuit. Sudaporn starts her bid for the 60kg title against Vietnam's Ha Thi Linh.
In the women's 54kg class, Nilawan Techasuep found herself in the semi-finals where she could face the Philippines' Aira Villegas for a place in the title match.
Jutamas Jitpong was also given a bye to the last-four stage of the women's 51kg and can expect a battle with home pugilist Irish Magno in the semi-finals.
All those getting byes to the semi-finals have already been assured of bronze medals.