Thailand put up the best performance at the 20th Southeast Asian Junior (SEA JR) Table Tennis Championships after winning seven out of 13 gold medals on offer.
Thailand won the Under-18 mixed doubles, U-15 boys' doubles, U-15 girls' doubles, U-18 girls' doubles, U-15 girls' singles, U-18 boys' singles, and U-18 boys' team categories at the June 16-21 tournament. Singapore were the second best team in the tournament after winning five gold medals, while Malaysia and Indonesia managed to win one gold each in the tournament.
"I think my players have improved a lot this year. We won five gold last year in the same tournament in the Philippines, but this year we managed to win seven," Theeradech Mekamporn told The Brunei Times after the match.
"The players showed great determination to win and they made me really proud and happy this time round," he said. The highlight of yesterday's event was the U-18 boys' singles event that saw an all Thailand final between Nitipat Pimrat and Komgrit Sangpao.
Nitipat edged Komgrit 4-3 (11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10) at the Indoor Stadium at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex. "I did not expect to win this tournament as I am only a replacement player and to be able to win... I am very happy," said Nitipat.
"I was called to join this tournament quite late, so the preparation was a bit rushed as I only had two months to practice. "But I tried my best to make time for training, I spent three hours every day after school practicing so I could catch up with the rest of the team," he said.
"Komgrit is a very good player and I always lost to him in training, but somehow today I got very lucky and won." added the 18-year-old. Yesterday's other finals saw Lin Ye of Singapore defeat Orawan Paranang of Thailand 4-2 (11-8, 11-7, 3-11, 4-11, 11-6, 12-10) for the U-18 girls' singles title.
In the U-16 girls' singles, Catharya Poungsri of Thailand beat compatriot Monarpsorn Saritapirak 4-1 (11-5, 12-14, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4). Lucas Tan of Singapore defeated Panagitgun Yanapong 4-2 (11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5) in the U-16 boys' singles final.
Present as the guest of honour to award the prizes to the winners was Pg Suhaimi Pg Hj Bakar, the Acting Director of Co-Curriculum Education Department, Ministry of Education (MoE). Brunei were represented by 12 paddlers in the tournament but all of them were stopped in the very first-round of their respective events.