Jongkolphan Kititharakul, Nitchaon Jindapol and Rawinda Prajongjai pose with their trophies.
Jongkolphan Kititharakul, Nitchaon Jindapol and Rawinda Prajongjai pose with their trophies.

Winner Nitchaon thanks Buddhism for her new-found mental toughness

sports November 07, 2017 01:00

By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation

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The newly crowned Bitburder Badminton Open champion Nitchaon Jindapol cited Buddhist meditation as the secret of her success after she won the title in Saarbrucken, Germany for the second time on Sunday.

The 26-year-old proved mentally tougher than ever as she went toe to toe with world No 12 Beiwen Zhang of Malaysia.

Nitchaon finally won a final which featured long superb rallies 21-17 15-21 21-19 to claim her second World Grand Prix title at the same venue where she won her first, four years ago.

She said Buddhist meditation approach was the key to strengthening her mental state.

“Recently I started working on my mentality through meditation. I had some poor results earlier because I lost focus in my matches and chances slipped away,” said the 26-year-old from Phuket.

“So I turned to Buddhist teachings to calm down my nerves. I practise meditation, read Buddhist books and pray. I try to be with myself and stay in the present. It really works,” said Nitchaon one of the three Thai women [the others are Busanan Ongbamrungphan and Ratchanok Intanon] to have won World Grand Prix Gold or higher-level events in the singles category in 2017.

In the match against Zhang who led her 3-1 in their head-to-head record, Nitchaon’s mental toughness scaled new heights as she made few mistakes and retrieved almost all her opponent’s shots.

“I threw my last dice at the end of the third game and I finally beat her. I’m happy to win again. I will keep doing what I’m doing,” she said.

The world No 15, who caused a big stir in June by handing the first defeat of the season to world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan at the Indonesia Open, said she would devote even more time to Buddhism and go to the temple for merit making.

“We should do good things and start giving to others,” she said.

Nitchaon has two more events in Hong Kong and South Korea before the end of the year. But it’s next year that she is most focused on.

“I want to keep moving up the rankings. My goal is to be in the top 10,” she said.

Thailand also won the women's doubles after second seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai beat Japanese pair Akane Araki and Aoi Matsuda 21-19 21-6. It was their second win together after the Malaysian Masters in January.