Thailand's Phantipha Wongchuvej
in action during the 7th Pan
Pacific Petanque Championship
yesterday.Picture: BT/ Ak Fauzi
Phantipha Wongchuvej of Thailand proved gender is not a factor by winning the Shooting Open event at the 7th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship after defeating Nguyen Xuan Loc of Vietnam 45-36 yesterday.
The only woman to reach the knock-out stages of the competition, Phantipha defeated Vicki Heo from Singapore 33-12 in the last eight at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
She then defeated Malaysia's Syed Ali Syed Akil 30-19 in the semi-finals before facing Nguyen in the final.
"I felt a bit nervous in the final. But I was very confident that I can beat him," said Phantipha in an interview with The Brunei Times after the match.
"I am used to playing against male competitors in training, but this is the first time that I competed in the open category and I feel very happy to win it," continued the gold medallist in the women's double event at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia in 2011.
Asked whether she had problem playing against men in the event, the 29-year-old said: "No problem at all. Men or women, it is still the same. It doesn't matter."
"However, it was quite tough to play against him (Nguyen) in the final. But I think I managed to control the game," added the winner of the 6th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship in Sydney, Australia.
Brunei's two representatives in the event, captain Mazlan Hj Yahya and Mohd Abdillah Tamin were ousted in the final eight of the competition.
Mazlan was defeated by Thanakorn Singthong 36-12, while Mohd Abdillah fell to a 27-18 defeat to Syed Ali of Malaysia.
"I lost to a very experienced player from Thailand (Thanakorn). He was the winner of the Petanque Asian Championship in Hanoi, Vietnam last year," said Mazlan.
"I managed to put up a good fight during the game, but he is too good."
"But all hope is not lost. We still have the Triples Open event to play for. We will try our best to at least get a medal for Brunei in the event," added Mazlan.
The tournament continues today at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex at 8am.
Present as the guest of honour to officiate the opening ceremony of the tournament was the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.
Ten teams are currently vying for top honours in the two-day competition.
Joining hosts Brunei in the tournament are New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the tournament is also aimed at giving exposure to the country's young players.