Badminton Life

Thailand's Boonsak Looks to Go One Better

Four years since coming within a whisker of winning an Olympic medal, Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana believes he is ready to make a breakthrough.

The Thai reached the semi-finals at the Athens 2004 badminton men's singles event, losing to eventual champion Taufik Hidayat.

Then, in the third-place play-off, he lost to another Indonesian, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, to miss out on the bronze medal.

The 26-year-old Boonsak knows that it will be tough to repeat his Athens runs, with the quality of players higher than it was four years ago.

However, he is determined to give it his best shot despite meeting his foe from Athens in his opening match.

Boonsak takes on Kuncoro in the second round, which is the last 32, after both players received first-round byes.

World number 15 Boonsak, dubbed "Superman" by the Thai media because his nickname is "Man", has an even tougher task should he get to the quarter-finals, where he is likely to face second-seeded Malaysian Lee Chong Wei.

However, the Thai star remains unconcerned, telling local media that he cannot expect any easy matches in an Olympic competition.

"It is a tough draw for me," he said. "But all players at the Olympics are top class. Sooner or later I have to face a tough opponent. I am not worried about meeting Kuncoro."

There are also high hopes for Boonsak from the Badminton Association of Thailand, with President Charoen Wattanasin expecting a good run from the player.

"Boonsak has a good chance of reaching the later stages because he could not meet world number one Lin Dan of China until the final," Charoen said.

Thailand will also be represented by Salakjit Ponsana in the women's singles while Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam are competing in the mixed doubles.

Salakjit is the younger sister of Boonsak and, like her brother, has a first-round bye. However, after that she takes on defending Olympic champion Zhang Ning, the second seed.

Sudket and Saralee can be confident of advancing from the first round of the mixed doubles with an opening match against Canada's Mike Beres and Valerie Loker.

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