Udom Luangphetcharaporn is no more the national coach but he is one happy man who is glad that his juniors are shaping up well to challenge the seniors in the world of badminton.

Thailand’s Pattarasuda Chaiwan failed to win the girls’ singles title in the recently concluded Badminton Asia Championships in Bintaro, Jakarta – managing only a silver.

The 18-year-old is not disheartened with the runners-up spot. Instead, Pattarasuda is taking the Badminton Asia Junior Championships to launch her badminton at senior level.

Pattarasuda and another junior who played in the junior meet – Chananchida Jucharoen – are in the Thai Sea Games team where Thailand will defend their women’s team gold.

Pattarasuda lost to China’s number four seed Han Yue 15-21, 13-21 in the Asian Junior final on Sunday.

“I am disappointed to lose the final. It is all part and parcel of my ‘learning process’ in my badminton career, says Pattarasuda who is the current Thai number one junior.

“It will serve me well in the SEA Games. I am so very excited to don my country’s colours and play in the Sea Games. I feel honoured and it will only motivate me further.”

“The Sea Games is a big thing for me as it is a big step forward for my badminton career.”

Pattarasuda and Chananchida, however, will not feature in the individual events and have been earmarked only for the team event.

Except for former world number one, Ratchanok Intanon, (ranked No 9) who will compete in the World Championships in Glasgow, Thailand’s three singles players for the Sea Games are all ranked top 20 in the world.

Thailand’s big three for the SEA Games are defending champion Busanan Ongbamrungphan is ranked 12, Nitchaoen Jindapol (14), and Pornpawee Chochuwong (20).

Udom, who now coaches Banthongyod Badminton School in Bangkok, predicts that Thailand will retain the team gold as well as the individual gold.

“The SEA Games will be a good exposure for the juniors. Pattarasuda and Chinanchida are some of the up and coming players and have a bright future in badminton,” said Udom. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH

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