Thais Supak-Supissara dare to dream after stunning Asian Games bronze medallists

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KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand’s rising mixed doubles shuttlers Supak Jomkoh-Supissara Paewsampran kicked off the 2024 season with a huge upset in the opening round of the Malaysia Open badminton championships today.

The world number 20 notched one of the biggest victories of their budding career when they beat world number four Feng Yan Zhe-Huang Dong Ping of China 22-20, 21-19 at the Axiata Arena here.

It was their first victory over the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games bronze medallists in six attempts, including in the quarter-finals of the Hangzhou Asian Games.

In the second round on Thursday (Jan 11), the Thais will face Singapore’s Terry Hee-Jessica Tan, who disposed of Taiwan’s Ye Hong Wei-Lee Chia Hsin 15-21, 21-19, 21-12 in their first-round tie.

“We are very happy to have won this match because we stuck to our game plan.

“Our target this year is to win a medal at the Paris Olympics. As for the Malaysia Open, we hope to advance to the semi-finals. I hope we can continue our winning momentum against higher-ranked players, we still have a chance to qualify (for the Paris Olympics), we don’t want to give up,” said Supissara.

However, it won’t be easy for Supak, 27, and Supissara, 24, to qualify for Paris 2024 as they are currently ranked 17th in the Olympic qualifications.

As another Thai pair, Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai are in fifth place, Supak-Supissara must break into the top eight to make the cut because each country can have a maximum of two pairs if both are ranked in the top eight.

Meanwhile, Yan Zhe-Dong Ping said they lost because Supak-Supissara played a very fast game, adding that the stronger draught also made it harder for them to control their game.

In men’s doubles, 2022 edition champions Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan eliminated Tokyo Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin of Taiwan 21-16, 21-15.

Hoki-Kobayashi, the 2021 world champions, will next take on Scotland’s Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall, who beat French brothers Christo Popov-Toma Junior Popov 24-22, 17-21, 21-17.

In women’s singles, Akane Yamaguchi of Japan started her title defence by ousting Thailand’s Supanida Katethong 21-15, 22-20 while top seed An Se Young of South Korea disposed of Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark 21-16, 21-10. -Bernama

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