BANGKOK, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- As the 16th Asian Games is approaching, Thai badminton players spare no effort to prepare themselves for matches in Guangzhou.
Boonsak Ponsana, a 28-year-old player for men's single, thinks himself rather lucky as judging from the drawing-lots for match- ups, he is not likely to compete with any Chinese player -- who is seen as a formidable rival -- until the semi-final; however, he may face the world's No. 1 seed player, Malaysian Lee Chong Wei in the quarter-final, which will be a tough battle for Boonsak.
"If I win a medal, it will be credited to the whole Thai nation,"said Boonsak, dubbed 'Superman' in Thailand.
Trirong Limsakul, performance director of the team, said the association expected that Songphon Anugritiyawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaiku would win in mixed double and Boonsak Ponsana in men's singles.
Songphon and Kunchala won the first prize in Japan Open Championship last year, while Boonsak Ponsana is ranked as the world's NO. 10 seed.
The team, composed of 10 male athletes, 10 female athletes, team manager and another 5 staff, is set to leave for Guangzhou on November 10, two days prior to the opening ceremony there.
Badminton is one of 39 sports Thailand participated in the Games. The country will send 831 athletes and around 230 staff to Guangzhou in November.
Members in the team share the view that even though the weather is not a big issue for them as the climate in Guangzhou is not so different from that in Bangkok, the pressure comes from having to compete with Chinese badminton team, a formidable rival, in its home court.
Thai Badminton Association President Charoen Wattanasin said he believed the fact that China is the host of the Games would cast pressure on every participanting badminton teams, not only Thailand's, as China had a very strong badminton team. However, Thailand's badminton team had a good faith and was ready for the Games, said he. "As China has some quite competitive players, it will be a hard battle for all the other (badminton) teams," Charoen said.
All these years, Chinese badminton players ruled the game so much that other countries have a hard time competing in almost all the major tournaments concerning badminton including the Asian and Olympic Games.
To give a few instances of their superiority in badminton, Chinese badminton players won three out of five gold medals in Beijing Olympics in 2008. The Chinese team has also won four out of seven gold medals in Doha Asian Games in 2006.
Charoen added that apart from the reward granted by Thai government to its athlete who gets a medal, the Association would double the prize for the badminton medal-winner from its own budget.
Another Thai badminton rising star is 15-year-old Ratchanok Inthanon. Ratchanok won the Badminton World Federation World Junior Championships two years in a row for women's singles and became the youngest-ever champion -- 14 years old last year -- at the world junior tournament last.
Participating in the Asian Games for the first time, Ratchanok said for now she was not 100 percent ready for the Games as her physical condition is not yet perfect -- She still carries some injuries, which, however, failed to weaken her confidence.
"If I can recover on time, I will try my best to win a gold medal."
The teenager rising star added that it would be her first time to China, so if she lost in the first sevral rounds, she would take the rest of her time in Chinato travel across the country. But she is seen to have a big chance to get to the final round.
Adisai Avihinasanon, a badminton fan and father of Suppanyu Avihingsanon, Thai badminton athlete for men's singles, thinks it will be very difficult for the Thai team to win any medal in this competition, but he said he believed that the Thai team would try their best to bring glory to the country.