Isarapa a big hit despite 4th place finish
published : 27 Jul 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Tokyo: Unfancied Thai shooter Isarapa Imprasertsuk put on an impressive show at the Asaka Shooting-Shotgun Ranges to secure a surprise fourth-place finish in the women's skeet at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
The Games debutant defied the odds to finish fourth in the qualifying and then shot her way to fourth spot behind champion Amber English of the US, runner-up Diana Bacosi of Italy and third-placed Wei Meng from China.
World No.32 Isarapa, a silver medallist at the 2016 Asian Championships, earned a crack at a medal after eliminating Natalia Vinogradova of the Russian Olympic Committee in the first shoot of the final and then Germany's Nadine Messerschmidt in the second.
In the third shoot, the Thai tied with Wei on 36 points.
As results from the qualifying round are taken into account in case of a tie, it was Wei's remarkable 124 points to the Thai's 120 that propelled her into the top three.
Wei's 124 points are an Olympic record and it also equalled her own world record, achieved at the 2019 Asian Championships in Doha.
English shot a final of 56, also an Olympic record, to win the gold, followed by Bacosi (55) and Wei (46).
Isarapa's fourth place is the best performance by a Thai skeet shooter, bettering Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit's fifth at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Thailand No.1 Sutiya, who had a health problem, failed make it to the final in Tokyo.
Isarapa said: "I was under no pressure at all as other competitors are all world-class shooters. I was just an underdog, and finishing fourth is beyond my expectation."
In badminton, world No.2 mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai were handed their first defeat in Tokyo with a shock 12-21, 19-21 result against Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of Great Britain in their last Group B match.
The Thai duo, who won three straight tournaments on home soil in January, were nowhere near their best against the inspired Britons who came up with intense attacks and solid defence.
Despite the defeat, Dechapol and Sapsiree, who are among Thailand's best medal hopes, moved on to the knockout stage as group runners-up.
But the loss could shatter their dream as the quarter-final match-up will be determined by drawing lots with group winners facing group runners-up.
In table tennis, Suthasini Sawettabut became the first Thai to reach the round of 16 after she upended 15th-seeded Samara of Romania 4-1 (11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Compatriot Orawan Paranang wasn't so lucky after being stopped in the third round by Japanese fifth-seed Kasumi Ishikawa 2-4 (5-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 4-11, 8-11).