Vol. VIII No. 34 - Tuesday
August 25 - August 31, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Pongsaklek to defend WBC crown in Chiang Mai

Mass Media team battles for a draw with CM University

Another burst from Bolt nets another world record

Chiang Mai Pool League

Yang’s PGA win helps push another Asian golf surge

Pongsaklek to defend WBC crown in Chiang Mai

WBC champ Pongsaklek Kratingdaeng Gym (center) poses with eight Muay Thai champions at the press conference held at Le Meridien Chiang Mai hotel on August 5.

Supoj Thiamyoj
A real boxing bonanza for fight aficionados will take place on Friday, August 28, when a Muay Thai ‘marathon’ and a WBC world title fight will be staged at Kad Cherng Doi on Chonlaprathan Road in Chiang Mai.
The event is being co-produced by Petchyindee Boxing Promotions and Toyota Vigo Smart Muay Thai Marathon and will feature eight Muay Thai champions competing for some 500,000 baht in prize money. At the top of the bill on the fight card, which kicks off at 2 p.m., Pongsaklek Kratingdaeng Gym will defend his WBC ‘interim’ flyweight title against Japanese opponent Takahisa Matsuda. The fight is also expected to be shown live on Thai terrestrial TV.
A press conference was held August 5 in the Grand Ballroom of Le Meridien Chiang Mai hotel to publicise the event and was attended by honorary guest and Chiang Mai District Chief, Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, together with Kij Mahajuntakarn, PR director from Toyota Motor Thailand, Tassanai Booranoopakorn, Chief Executive of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization, Surachai Sirijanya, Assistant Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL, Wirat Wachirarattanawong, President of Petchyindee Boxing Promotions and Ken Santitham, Chiang Mai Municipal Clerk,
Also, to coincide with the boxing, a Vigo Smart’s Muay Thai Marathon and Products for Sale Festival will take place between August 28 and 30 at the same venue. Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL will bring their products including fresh and processed food and readymade products for sale at special prices.
The aim of the event is to help ease the burden being experienced by the public during this time of economic crisis as well as help to promote Chiang Mai’s tourism.
All the activities at the festival including the boxing will be open to everyone, free of charge.


Mass Media team battles for a draw with CM University

A Chiang Mai Mass Media team, featuring Chiang Mai Mail’s very own Editor, Phitsanu Thepthong, lines up with Chiang Mai University’s Political Science alumni before a traditional annual friendly game of football at the University’s sports field. Both teams played their part in a competitive but good natured affair, which finished in a 3-3 draw after 90 minutes. As previous holders of the cup, the Mass Media team retained the trophy which they were presented with at the conclusion of the game by Chiang Mai governor Amornphan Nimanant.


Another burst from Bolt nets another world record

Pat Graham
Berlin (AP) - Teeth clenched, Usain Bolt grimaced as he churned toward the finish line, hoping to coax a fraction more out of his lanky frame.
The big, yellow numbers flashing another world record time, told the Jamaican sprinter he had gotten what he wanted out of the 200 meters last Thursday at the world championships.
Beyond the mark of 19.19 seconds, though, was something else - the fact that he is altering his sport.
For the second straight race - five, if his record-breaking runs at the Beijing Olympics are counted - Bolt’s biggest competitor was the clock. He bettered his old world record by a whopping .11 seconds, the same margin he shaved off the 100 four days earlier, when he finished in 9.58.
“I’m on my way to being a legend,” Bolt said, without a trace of arrogance.
No debate there.
He is erasing chunks of time from records that normally take years to break. He is beating the so-called competition by body lengths - this time, Alonso Edward of Panama was 0.62 seconds behind - in a sport often decided by photo finishes.
“He’s a gift to this earth,” said American sprinter Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth. “He’s a blessing to the track game. ... I’m just waiting for the lights to flash ‘game over,’ ‘cause I felt like I was in a video game.”
Bolt can’t be caught, even when he gives away tips. Just before the start of the race, Bolt told good friend Wallace Spearmon to stay close to him on the curve and follow him home.
The American tried.
“Even if I run the best turn of my life, I’m still going to be behind,” said Spearmon, who finished with the bronze. “I knew what was in store for the race. I expected it to be at least that fast.”
When he saw his record time, Bolt pointed at the display, then stuck out his tongue in his best Michael Jordan impersonation.
“Even us in the field, we think there is going to be something phenomenal from him,” Crawford said.
Bolt feeds off the energy from the crowd. The louder they get, the more playful he becomes. He showed up at the start wearing a T-shirt with a new take on President John F. Kennedy’s famous Cold War quote “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
This time, the slogan said, “Ich bin ein Berlino,” a reference to the bear mascot of the championships. The audience ate it up, along with Bolt’s hand gestures and other assorted antics.
Then it was time to go to work in his yam-colored Pumas. He jetted out of the blocks, turned the corner and it was over. No one was going to catch him once he reached the straightaway.
“I was surprised with myself that I did so well,” Bolt said.
After that, came his favorite part - the celebration. He involved just about everyone as he made his way around the track, stopping to sign autographs for kids, mugging for pictures and posing with Berlino, who joined Bolt in the sprinter’s signature bow-and-arrow stance.
Midway around the track, Bolt took of his shoes and carried them.
“I was so tight, I couldn’t even really jog. I was just tired,” said Bolt, who celebrated his 23rd birthday Friday.
So how low can Bolt go? Even he has no clue.
“I keep saying anything’s possible as long as you put your mind to it,” he said.
Former sprint star Michael Johnson, whose record of 19.32 stood for 12 years before Bolt broke it last year, believes the 19-second barrier might be next.
“He could,” Johnson said. “He’s very tall and has an extremely long stride. He’s not the only person in the world that’s 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters), he’s just the only one that’s 6-5 and that fast.”
Before the race, Johnson said he didn’t think Bolt would break the mark. Not today. Not with his top rival, Tyson Gay, on the sideline with a groin injury. But he also threw in a qualifier.
“Anytime Usain Bolt steps on the track, a world record is possible,” Johnson said.
For a warm-up act, Bolt comically threw a roundhouse punch at Spearmon and hammed it up for the camera.
For the performance, he blistered the field.
For the finale, he broke another world record.
Not bad theater.
“Insane Bolt,” Spearmon said. “That’s what we call him.”
Bolt overheard that remark.
“Yo, Spearmon,” Bolt yelled from across the room. “Don’t call me insane, man. I heard you called me insane. What’s up with that?”
As a way to describe how Bolt is tearing up the track, there may be no better word.


Chiang Mai Pool League

Results & Standings August 14 (week 14)

Division 1
Team                            Played       Won            Lost         Frames        Points

Blue Sky Bar                  14              14                  0                 93              14
Inter Bar                         14              11                  3                 86              11
Half Moon                       14             10                  4                 80               10
Oasis                             14              9                   5                 82               9
Blue Sky Garden
             14              8                   6                 61              8
Ralph Fitch (1)                14              5                   9                 58               5
Chiangers & Bangers       13             5                   8                 46               5
Blue Sky Ladies             14              3                  11                49               3
The Local                       13              3                  10                27               3
Chiangers Chicks            14             1                  13                40                1

Results
:  Chiangers Chicks 3 v 6 Blue Sky Bar, Ralph Fitch (1) 6 v 3 Blue Sky Ladies, Blue Sky Garden 5 v 4 Oasis, Inter Bar 9 v 0 Half Moon

Division 2
Team                            Played       Won            Lost         Frames          Points

Honey Moon                   15             11                  4                 79               11
Ralph Fitch (2)                16             11                  5                 78               11
Em & Em                       15             10                  5                 82               10
Happy Bar                      16              8                   8                 68               8
Lucky Bar                      15              8                   7                 64               8
Rama Bar                       16              7                   9                 72               7
Oasis Soiy TT                 15              7                   8                 66               7
The Brickies                   16              6                  10                71               6
Smile Bar                       15              6                   9                 65               6
Tiger Bar                        14              6                   8                 59               6
Blue Sky Won                16              5                  11                61               5

Results:
  Rama Bar 4 v 5 Lucky Bar, Oasis Soi TT 3 v 6 Tiger Bar, Smile Bar 4 v 5 Em & Em, Blue Sky Won 3 v 6 Ralph Fitch (2), The Brickies 4 v 5 Happy Bar.


Yang’s PGA win helps push another Asian golf surge

Jean H. Lee
Seoul, South Korea (AP) - Y.E. Yang’s stunning win over Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship last week gave the burgeoning golf market in Asia something that no amount of money can buy: the region’s first major champion.
Golfers and fans in Asia had access to some of the world’s newest and most lush courses, the attention of global sponsors, broadcasters and administrators and a group of seven South Korean women who combined for 11 major titles, but Yang’s come-from-behind win over Woods was unprecedented in so many ways. Not least the impetus it gives the game across the far-flung Asian continent.
Woods had never lost in the 14 previous majors in which he’d taken a lead into the final round. But Yang was never overawed, giving Asians a homegrown men’s champion to cheer for rather than rely on familial links with Woods, who has a Thai mother, and Fijian-born Vijay Singh, a major champion of Indian heritage.
“It’s a great, great day for Asian golf,” Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han told The Associated Press. “Probably our biggest day. It’s always been our hope that we will see an Asian player win a major, and that day is here.
“It will provide so much inspiration. Our players have never contended that strong in majors. Maybe top 10 but never really contended. And now we’ve not only got a winner, but someone who beat Tiger Woods. It was as high-pressure as you can get.”
Han said there are a number of players in their early 20s from Thailand, South Korea, India and other Asian countries who are probably more technically sound than their older compatriots were.
“These players will peak in their late 20s, and it was always a case of a longer process for them to mature,” Han said. “But this has raised the bar a lot, and Yang’s win will provide them with a big mental boost. I see a great future ahead for Asian golf.”
One of those young players - Asian Tour rookie Mohammad Siddikur - recently became the first player from Bangladesh on the Asian Tour.
“It’s really exciting news to see an Asian winner at a major,” Siddikur said. “This is good for Asian Tour players. He has become our pride and joy.”
Shane Hahm, who covers sports for Seoul radio station TBS eFM, described it as an historic win for Asia.
“The historical significance is huge, in terms of golf and how it’s blooming in Asia, the fastest growing market,” he said. “For the first Asian-born player to win ... It’s just unbelievable, the way he did it, too - by beating the No. 1 player in the world.”
South Korea’s top golf official, Park Sam-koo of the Korea Professional Golfers’ Association, told Yang his win “provided our members and junior players with immeasurable and strong pride that they can do it, too.”
Max Garske, chief executive of the PGA of Australia, which has ongoing contact with events in South Korea and Asia via the recently formed OneAsia tour, said Yang’s win will help nurture the sport in the region.
“It will also provide a huge amount of confidence for Asian male players because it’s taken such a long time for them to break through in a major,” Garske said. “We need a couple of Asian heroes.”
Garske said the 37-year-old Yang’s win would no doubt increase the number of regular golfers in Asia.
He said that although Japan, with its single biggest star now 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, has an estimated 15 million golfers and South Korea 3 million to 3.5 million, most of those golfers play or practice only at driving ranges.
There are about 3,500 golf courses in Japan, where an 18-hole round can cost up to $500 to play, and just 200 quality courses in South Korea.
In Australia, impact studies show 1.2 million have taken up the sport, but the criteria is that those golfers play at least four rounds a year on a course.
Garske said the biggest room for growth is in China, where the Australian PGA is in the second year of a program with the China Golf Association to train between 5,000 to 10,000 local Chinese coaches.
“They’ve got about 1.1 million who have memberships at golf courses, and in excess of 350 golf courses,” Garske said. “They are growing at about 40 percent a year, and working very hard on their elite player program. Yang’s win will help there as well as everywhere else.”
The Asian region will also get a boost when a World Golf Championship event - the HSBC Champions - will be played from Nov. 5-8 in Shanghai, with Woods in the field.
China has no regular golfers on the PGA Tour, but has Wu Ashun, Liang Wenchong and Zhang Lianwei among its best male players.
“Korean players represent the emergence of Asian power in golf. Their performance shows that Asians are really suited to playing golf,” Yang Jie, director of golf department under the official General Administration of Sports, said in Beijing.
“Y.E. Yang sets an excellent example for Chinese players, showing that if you work hard, you will be rewarded with results.”
Se Ri Pak won the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open as a rookie in 1998, among seven South Korean players who have combined to win 11 majors on the LPGA Tour. Yang and K.J. Choi are the only PGA Tour players who learned the game in South Korea before going to the United States.
Jeev Milkha Singh, who finished tied for 67th at the PGA, is the first Indian golfer to play at the Masters and qualify for the U.S. Open.
“Golf in Asia has been growing steadily, so to have the guy who finally found a way to beat Tiger on Sunday is so big for the region,” said Australian Geoff Ogilvy. “It’s hard for us here in the U.S. to imagine the impact this will have.”
Joe Steranka, the chief executive of the PGA of America, said: “Earlier this week, I said the addition of golf to the Olympics is the single biggest thing to accelerate the growth of the game. I stand corrected. ... There are now going to be other Asian nations saying, ‘OK, how are we going to prepare our players to go play on the international stage?’”
Teaching professional Peter Heiniger, who was part of an Australian PGA coaching clinic to Beijing earlier this year, agreed the addition of golf at the 2016 Olympics will have a huge impact on the sport in China.
“They are looking for the next step, another level,” Heiniger said. “In China, the biggest difficulty has been funding. And now that there is a good chance it will become an Olympic sport, it will help the game even more.”
Heiniger says Yang’s win, though, will have an immediate impact.
“Everyone in Asia saw what K.J. Choi had done, and he hadn’t even won a major,” said Heiniger. “I think Yang’s win will prove to be huge.”



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