Failure to meet target upsets SAT
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Failure to meet target upsets SAT

Thais end Hangzhou mission with 12 golds

Noppassorn Khunboonjan, left, and Weka Bhanubandh compete in the dinghy ILCA4 races.
Noppassorn Khunboonjan, left, and Weka Bhanubandh compete in the dinghy ILCA4 races.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) is upset that its athletes failed to meet the minimum target of winning 15 gold medals at the 19th Asian Games which ended on Sunday in Hangzhou, China.

Ahead of the tournament, the sports associations with athletes at the Games predicted that they would bring home a total of 15-23 golds.

As it turned out, they could only claim 12 titles at Hangzhou 2022, which is better than their tally of 11 golds at the 2018 Games.

With 939 athletes, Thailand even had a larger contingent than hosts China.

"The budget to prepare and send athletes to the Games was about 1.3 billion baht," Prachum Boonthiam, SAT deputy governor for elite sports development, said on Sunday.

"We had about 900 athletes -- more than China's number -- but failed to reach our target."

He said the criteria to select athletes to compete in the Asian Games should be changed with only those with proven achievements picked.

"There should no longer be sending athletes to gain experience," Prachum said.

Thana Chaiprasit, Thailand's delegation chief, said certain associations claimed they had to send a lot of athletes to take part in Hangzhou 2022 because some events were also Olympic qualifying rounds.

He said Thailand's medal tally in China was "acceptable" although involved parties will have to discuss what went wrong.

Sepak takraw was again Thailand's most successful sport at the Asian Games, while sailors, taekwondo fighters and golfers also had impressive results at Hangzhou 2022.

The Thai sepak takraw contingent made a clean sweep of four gold medals in the men's and women's team regu events and men's and women's regu competitions.

Thailand, who did not take part in the quadrant events at Hangzhou, also claimed four titles at the 2018 Games in Indonesia.

The Thai sailing and windsurfing team also had a good spell at the Games with three gold medals.

ML Weka Bhanubandh won the boy's dinghy ILCA4 event while Noppassorn Khunboonjan topped the girl's dinghy ILCA4 event.

Weka, 16, and Noppassorn, 17, were among Thailand's youngest competitors at Hangzhou.

Windsurfer Siripon Kaewduangngam was crowned champion in the women's RS:X.

In taekwondo, Olympic champion Panipak Wongpattanakit lived up to the expectations as she retained her Asian Games title in the 49kg division.

It was her last Asian Games as the 26-year-old fighter plans to retire after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Taekwondo champion Panipak Wongpattanakit. Tennis panipak wongpattanakit Facebook Page

Little-known Banlung Tubtimdang was winner in the men's 63kg class to give Thailand their second gold in the Korean martial art.

Thai golfers exceeded expectations with two gold medals in the women's competition and a silver in the men's event.

LPGA Tour rookie Arpichaya Yubol was crowned the individual gold medallist, finishing two shots ahead of Aditi Ashok of India.

The Thai star shot a four-under-par 68 in the final round to finish on 19-under 269 total while overnight leader Ashok had a shocking five-over 77 to finish on 17-under 271.

It was Thailand's first ever individual gold medal in gold at the Asian Games.

Arpichaya's score helped sealed the women's team gold for Thailand on a 34-under 542 aggregate, six clear of South Korea, with China taking bronze.

Golfer Arpichaya Yubol celebrates her win. reuters

The men's team of Phachara Khongwatmai, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai, Danthai Boonma and Poom Saksansin took the silver medal after finishing on 51-under 813.

South Korea won gold on 76-under 788 while Hong Kong took bronze on 50-under 814.

In eSports, Thailand's Teedech 'TD Keane' Songsaisakul beat compatriot Varanan 'JUBJUB' Phatanasak in the final of EA Sports FC Online.

It was Thailand's first ever gold in the discipline as eSports made its debut as a medal sport at the Asian Games.

Teedech Songsaisakul poses with his gold medal in the EA Sports FC Online.

Thailand also won two bronze medals in Arena of Valor and Dream Three Kingdoms 2.

Thailand could only bring home three silver and four bronze medals from boxing.

Once a boxing powerhouse in Asia, Thailand have failed to win a gold medal in two consecutive Asian Games now.

Looking on the bright side, several Thai fighters have earned their tickets to the 2024 Olympics in Paris thanks to their Hangzhou performances.

The athletics team got two silvers from Puripol Boonson in the men's 100m and the women's 4x100m relay squad.

The Athletics Association of Thailand (AAT) lost Sant Sarutanont, who quit as its president after 23 years at the helm, to shoulder responsibility for the team's poor results.

Financial rewards

The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) will have to pay medallists as well as their coaches and associations a total of 244.2 million baht in financial rewards, its chief Supranee Kuptasa said on Sunday.

Under the NSDF's bonus scheme, an Asian Games champion gets two million baht, a silver medallist one million baht and a bronze winner 500,000 baht.

The coaches and associations of the successful athletes also receive separate sums.

The takraw players, coaches and association will get the biggest sum of 86.8 million baht followed by the rowing athletes, coaches and association (44.45 million baht), although they won only two silver and four bronze medals.

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