Home2017Thai ace Tanongsak coming 'home' to Vietnam for Asian Mixed Team Championships

Thai ace Tanongsak coming ‘home’ to Vietnam for Asian Mixed Team Championships

The Thais were shattered and went into deep mourning when their badminton loving monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on 13th October 2016. 

And one Thai who will remember the death of King Bhumibol for the rest of his life is Thailand ace shuttler Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk as the monarch breathed his last on the shuttler's 26th birthday.

Ten days later Saensomboonsuk consoled the mourning Thais some cheer with a perfect gift – the elusive Super Series title when he beat South Korean Son Wan-ho with a 21-13, 23-21 win in the final in Odense. 

It was not only his first Super Series title but also a first for Thailand badminton as no Thai had won a Super Series title before this.

With the elusive Super Series trophy in one hand and the framed portrait of his beloved King Bhumibol in the other hand posed for the photographers and the smile on Saensomboonsuk's smile spoke of him playing a role in bringing to his countrymen when the nation was mourning. 

The 2013 Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist – he won the gold medal in Naypyitaw with a 22-20, 21-17 win over Indonesia's Hayum Rumbaka of Indonesia – will now lead Thailand's charge in the inaugural Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from Feb 14-19.

It is a sort of homecoming for Saensomboonsuk, currently ranked world No 11 – a country he remembers well because it was in Vietnam when he made his international debut in 1999.

He now hopes to bring more cheer to Thailand with the hope of at least a podium finish in the tournament which has drawn 13 Asian nations with badminton powerhouse China the top seeds. 
 
Thailand are unseeded for the Asian meet and are drawn in a four-team Group C which includes Japan, hosts Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan are seeded third in the Asian championships but the Thais have players in their side who can take the team to the knockout stage. The top two teams in each group will advance.
The other men's singles player in the team is youngster Suppanyu Avihingsanon.

Thailand also have Olympians Bodin Isara-Savitree Amitrapai in the mixed doubles . This pair did not go past the group stage in the 2016 Rio Olympics but the experience of playing at the highest level has made them "mentally strong" to face new challenges.

Bodin also features in the men's doubles with Nipitphon Phuangphuapet. The pair is currently ranked No 17 in the world.

The Thais also have depth in the women's singles and the challenge is carried by world No 12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan, Nitchaon Jindapol (No 16) and Pornpawee Chochuwong (No 46).
In the women's doubles is world No 10 Puttita Supajirakul- Sapsiree Taerattanachai and world No 11 Jongkolphan Kittitharakul- Rawinda Prajongjai.

The Thailand Team

Men: Suppanyu Avihingsanon, Bodin Isara, Kittinupong Kedren, Adulrach Namkul, Khosit Phetpradah, Nipitphon Phuangphuapet, Dechapol Puavaranukroh, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk

Women: Savitree Amitrapai, Pornpawee Chochuwong, Nitchaon Jindapol, Jongkolphan Kititharakul, Busanan Ongbamrungphan, Rawinda Prajongjai, Puttita Supajirakul, Sapsiree Taerattanachai
 

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