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Thailand off to winning start in U-19 Challenge Cup

Thai stars set to compete in Honda Racing Fest 2009

Montgomerie aims to neutralize Ozaki’s home advantage at Royal Trophy

SEA Games opens in Laos

Thailand off to winning start in U-19 Challenge Cup

CMM Reporters
The home fans were in full voice last Wednesday as Thailand opened the 2009 Asian U-19 Challenge Cup cricket tournament with an impressive win over the Maldives at the Gymkhana ground in Chiang Mai.

Thailand’s Thanathit hits out. (Photo courtesy ACC/Imad Ismail)
Thailand won the toss and decided to bat first on what looked to be a fast bouncy track, ideal for batting, and openers Thanathit Jeerapanthawong and Pranav Parakh did not disappoint as they played solidly against some pacey bowling from the Maldives’ Hassan Ibrahim to put on a 40 run opening partnership.
The first wicket fell in the 18th over when Parakh was deceived by Jilwaz Rasheed’s swing and found himself clean bowled for 19. Witsanukorn Thapthimthai entered the fray but departed just six balls later having been adjudged lbw to Ahmad Zaki without troubling the scorers.
Thailand seemed to struggle along after this and at the half way point in the innings they had mustered only 56-3, a long way short of their projected pre match target of 230. Local Chiang Mai boy Thanathit did his best to push the score along with 3 fours and 1 six in his top scoring effort of 34, but it was the partnership of Ishant Kalra and Wanchana Uisuk that injected some much needed urgency into the home sides innings, their partnership of 52 coming from 13 overs.

Thanathit Jeerapanthawong was the top scorer with 34 runs and was voted man of the match against the Maldives (Photo courtesy ACC/Imad Ismail)
After Wanchana was bowled by Hamid for 25, the innings fell away and Thailand limped along to a total of 141 all out from 48.1 overs, the last 7 wickets falling for just 21 runs.
Whatever disappointment the home side may have felt about their batting display was soon put aside as the Thai bowlers tore into the Maldives batting line-up. Muhammed Jailam was the first to fall in the opening over when he received a nasty lifter from Daniel Leach that he was only able to guide into the waiting hands of Jeerapanthawong.
Jilwaz Rasheed and Ismail Ali followed soon after and the Maldives found themselves in all sorts of trouble at 19 for 3. The wickets fell steadily after that against some tight bowling with only Ismail Shayyal and Mihusan Hamid able to break into double figures, joint top scorers with 12 runs each.
The bowling of Wanchana Uisuk was particularly impressive and he troubled all the Maldive batsmen with his left arm over the wicket delivery and sharp pace to record figures of 2-11. Noppon Senamontree was also in good form as he took 3 wickets for just 3 runs from his 2 overs and took the last Maldives wicket as the visitors crashed all out for just 55 runs from 22.5 overs.
Chiang Mai resident Thanathit Jeerapanthawong was voted the man of the match for his fighting knock of 34 runs that set Thailand on their way to victory.
In the other opening group matches, Kuwait beat Myanmar by 7 wickets at the Prem Oval after bowling their opponents out for just 80 runs with Haroon Shahid taking the best match figures of 5 for 4. Meanwhile China scored an impressive 102 run victory over Brunei at the same venue to also get their campaign off to a winning start.
At press time, Thailand were due to play their second round match against the strong Bahrain team at the Prem Oval before concluding their group fixtures with a game against Iran at the Prem on Monday.
The semi-finals, final and playoffs will take place from December 16-18 with the final itself being staged at the Prem Oval on Friday. Admission to both the Prem Oval and the Gymkhana ground is free to all spectators.


Thai stars set to compete in Honda Racing Fest 2009

A Honda Racing Fest promo girl stands in front
of one the race cars at the press announcement for the event.

Nopniwat Krailerg
More than 100 tuned up Honda cars and their drivers are expected at the 2nd annual Honda Racing Fest Thailand Championship, due to take place at the 700 Year Stadium from December 19-20.
Four classes of races will be held: Civic One, with about 20 cars; Jazz One also with about 20 entrants; the Cup Race open to amateur drivers, and the Honda Pro Cup for high powered cars. Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawalee will award trophies to the winners of each of the four categories.
Anothai Iam-lamnao, the organizing committee chairman for the Honda Racing Fest 2009, and President of the Automobile Reporters’ Association of Thailand said that about 10 Chiang Mai racers have registered for the amateur Cup Race. He said that well known racers like Ray MacDonald, star of the current popular movie Pai in Love, Piti Pirompakdee, Arthapol Prakonkhong also known as M. the Star, Chonsawat Assawaheme, and Arphakorn Kannasut are expected to race at the event.
A 2.2 km track will be installed at the 700 Year Stadium, 18m wide, with the longest straightaway being 450m. Last year’s race, at the Royal Flora Ratchapruek was quite successful and organizers see this one being even larger and more popular.


Montgomerie aims to neutralize Ozaki’s home advantage at Royal Trophy

European Royal Trophy and Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has demonstrated his strategic genius with critical appointments made in the lead-up to the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy matches, which brings together Asia and Europe in a golfing battle for stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver Trophy.
The eight-time Ryder Cup player for Europe has surprised all by nominating himself as a player - in addition to his role as Captain for the matches. And then, the Scotsman partially usurped Asia’s home course advantage by naming as his sixth player Englishman Simon Dyson - a player as familiar and comfortable playing in Asia as he is in Europe.
Dyson says it will be like “coming home” when he returns to Asia to make his Royal Trophy debut in January. The English golfer won the Asian Tour Order of Merit nine years ago during the time he was playing full time in the region, helped by victories in the China, Hong Kong and Macau Open Championships - completing a Greater China sweep.
The former Asian Tour Player of the Year hopes to achieve great success at his first appearance at the Royal Trophy and to play again under Montgomerie’s captaincy at the Ryder Cup in October next year. Dyson said: “I’ve naturally got some wonderful memories of Asia, so I didn’t have to think twice when I was nominated to be a member of the European Team for the Royal Trophy.”
“I played the Asian Tour as a newcomer to the professional ranks in the year 2000 to broaden my golfing education before playing in Europe, and it was a fantastic experience. As well as my three victories that year I also finished runner-up in Thailand and I’ve always loved playing golf in Asia. It almost feels like coming home;” stated the former Walker Cup Player.
The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will take place on 8-10 January 2010 at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. (Source Royal Trophy PR)


SEA Games opens in Laos

Athletes from Thailand wave as they enter the main stadium during the opening ceremony of the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday, Dec. 9. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Vijay Joshi
Vientiane (AP) – The 25th Southeast Asian Games officially opened in Vientiane, Laos, last Wednesday in front of 20,000 spectators packed into the nation’s main stadium at the new $100 million National Sports Complex.
A cultural extravaganza graced the arena, including dances and songs glorifying the traditions of this landlocked communist country of 6.8 million people.
Laos, one of the poorest countries in the world, has not followed the lead of other communist nations such as China, Cuba and the former Soviet bloc, in producing sporting winners with state support.
“This is a major event for Laos. We have put in a lot of effort over the last two years and now we are ready to go,” said Khenthong Nuanthasing, a Lao government spokesman.
Attendance though at the pre-opening events was sparse.
“Football and boxing are the most popular sports in Laos but people are not interested in other games,” said Maiva Yourtongjerxiong, a 20-year-old university student.
“But still we are very excited. This is the biggest sporting event held in our country,” said Yourtongjerxiong, who planned to watch swimming and football. “I would love to compete in swimming but I am not that good,” she said.
Only 25 sports are being contested at the games, down from 43 sports at the last games held in Thailand in 2007. Laos won only a single gold medal each in 2001 and 2003, three golds in 2005 and five in 2007.
“Our team will try to do better this time. Let’s see what we can do. Medals are important of course but most important thing for Laos is hosting these Games as a friendship game,” said Nuanthasing.
There is little doubt that Thailand will dominate the biennial event once again. Thailand won 183 gold medals in 2007, the fourth straight SEA Games where the host nation had finished atop the standings. The Philippines dominated the games in 2005, Vietnam in 2003 and Malaysia in 2001.
Thailand has won a total of 1,692 gold medals since the inception of the SEA Games in 1959. Indonesia is second with 1,377 and Malaysia third with 900 gold medals.
The SEA Games has taken on more of a Southeast Asian flavor over the years, boosting the amount of sports peculiar to the region and popular with fans while downgrading traditional sports in which its nations are less globally competitive.
The 2009 event has done away with cycling, basketball, gymnastics, hockey and rowing, while including or retaining dragon boat racing, wushu, Muay Thai, sepak takraw, pencak silat and Go. Wushu and pencak silat are martial arts while Go is a traditional Asian board game. In addition, there will be tenpin bowling, petanque, bodybuilding and billiards.
Athletics will have the biggest number of participants with 288, followed by football with 280 players. A total of 4,869 athletes will be vying for the 370 gold, 370 silver and 539 bronze medals on offer.
Defending champions Thailand have the largest contingent of 842 personnel at the SEA Games, comprising 550 athletes and 292 officials and expects to dominate athletics, boxing and Muay Thai. Laos has the second biggest contingent of 743.