Hangzhou: Thailand continued their dominance in sepak takraw at the Asian Games on Friday making a clean sweep of gold medals in the men's and women's team regu events.
The Thai men comfortably defeated Southeast Asian rivals Malaysia 2-0 in the final at Jinhua Sports Centre Stadium.
The Thais were led by Sittipong Khamchan, Wichan Temkort, Pichet Pansan, Siriwat Sakha, Pattarapong Yupadee and Varayut Jantarasena.
"I love Lionel Messi," said Thai player Pattarapong, 39.
"And I hope that this sport [sepak takraw] will spread throughout the world and that every continent can play this sport, because I think it's a very charming sport."
Thailand have now won seven successive gold medals in the men's team regu competition since 1998.
Malaysia have been crowned champions only once in the inaugural edition in 1990.
Earlier at the same venue, the Thai women defeated South Korea 2-0.
Among Thailand's stars were Wiphada Chitphuan, Sirinan Khiaopak, Somruedee Pruepruk, Nipaporn Salupphon, Masaya Duangsri, Primprapha Kaewkhamsai and Wassana Soiraya.
It was their fourth consecutive gold medal and sixth overall in the women's team regu event.
Thailand's Wassana Soiraya, No.30, kicks the ball against South Korea during the women's sepak takraw team regu final. (Photo: AFP)
In badminton, Thai shuttlers are guaranteed of at least a bronze medal after reaching the semi-finals of the women's team competition at Binjiang Gymnasium.
The Thais eased past India 3-0 in the quarter-finals to set up a last-four clash with South Korea, who cruised past Maldives by the same score.
Pornpawee Chochuwong edged past Pusarla V Sindhu 14-21, 21-15, 21-14 in the opening singles match.
Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai defeated Gayatri Gopichand Pullela and Treesa Jolly 21-19, 21-15 in the doubles.
Busunan Ongbamrungphan wrapped things up for Thailand with a 21-9, 21-16 victory over Ashmita Chaliha to give the team an unbeatable 3-0 lead and a place in the last four.
Hosts China, who beat Indonesia 3-0, and Japan, who defeated Taiwan 3-1, will face off in the other semi-final.
In boxing, Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat reached the women's 50kg semi-finals after defeating Ruhafzo Haqnazarova from Tajikistan 5-0.
Thanks to the win, she is assured of at least a bronze at Hangzhou 2022 and also earned a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Thai boxer Chuthamat Raksat, right, poses with a ticket to the 2024 Olympics.
Porntip Buapa stormed into quarter-finals of the women's 57kg division after defeating Chandrakala Thapa of Nepal 5-0.
Hosts China swept the first titles in athletics in Hangzhou as Zhang Jun came first in the men's 20km race walk and teammate Yang Jiayu did likewise in the women's event.
"I was the champion in the last Asian Games and to become champion now was not easy because these past two years I have actually experienced ups and downs," said 20km world record holder Yang after pipping compatriot Ma Zhenxia to gold by one second.
Japan bagged gold and silver in men's individual triathlon thanks to Kenji Nener and Makoto Odakura.
India's shooters enjoyed another strong day with their men's 50m rifle team breaking the world record on the way to beating China for gold.
Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Swapnil Suresh Kusale and Akhil Sheoran secured gold with a total of 1,769 points, six points more than China and eight more than the previous record set by the United States last November.
Their achievement earned praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"A stupendous win, prestigious gold and a world record," he posted to his 92 million followers on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. "They have shown exceptional determination and teamwork."
Meanwhile, an Afghan boxer has been provisionally suspended for failing a doping test at the Asian Games, the International Testing Agency (ITA) said, the first reported drugs case at the event.
The 37-year-old Mohammad Khaibar Nooristani, who was defeated on Monday in the preliminary rounds of the 71kg weight class in Hangzhou, tested positive for two banned substances, the ITA said.
Both were anabolic steroids.
The boxer was tested four days before his bout but it takes time for positive results to come through.
There are about 12,000 athletes at the 19th Asian Games which end on Oct 8. Bangkok post/agencies