Thailand got off to a decent start at the 16th Asian Games yesterday at Guangzhou and the men’s and women’s badminton sides assured of at least bronzes.
In badmintion, Boonsak Ponsana stunned world No 1 Lee Chong Wei as Thailand got past Malaysia 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the men’s team event.
In the women’s team competition, Thailand, led by Boonsak’s sister Salakjit, saw off third-seeded Japan 3-1 in the same round.
The losing semi-finalists in badminton both receive bronze medal.
Boonsak came from behind to shock Lee 9-21, 21-10, 21-19 in the opening singles to claim only the second win of his career over the Malaysian.
"We were the underdogs and we won because we never gave up," said Boonsak whose team got a bye in the first round.
"My win over Lee gave my team-mates a big boost."
Boonsak could meet Lee in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles and the Thai did not get carried away by yesterday’s triumph.
"It could be tougher because Lee will try to raise his game," he said.
Suppanyu Avihingsanon who beat Liew Daren 2-0 in the decisive match admitted that he was nervous.
Malaysia coach Misbun Sidek said his team might not have lost had Lee won the first match.
"We lost some momentum in our strategy today. It has been long since we last lost to Thailand."
It was Malaysia’s first defeat against Thailand in three decades.
In the semi-finals, unseeded Thailand will meet the winners between South Korea and Japan.
The Thai women’s team, who also got a first-round bye, were off to a good start when Salakjit defeated Ariko Hirose 21-17, 21-18.
In the semi-finals, they will face a formidable assignment against Indonesia who beat Taiwan 3-0.
"Indonesia are a very tough team but we are ready to fight," said Saralee Thoungthongkham.
Saralee and Kulchala Voravichitchaikul grabbed the winning point for Thailand against Japan.