Thailand lost one of its Asian Games heroes yesterday as boxer Chatchai Butdee suffered a severe cut above his right eye, prompting referee to stop the bout against Jo Hyo Nam in the favour of the North Korean in the men’s bantamweight quarter-finals.
Two days after his stunning win over 2017 world champion Yeraliyev Kairat of Uzbekistan, the 33-year-old fighter’s run came to a heartbreaking end when his bout was
terminated during the second round against Jo.
Chatchai had to go to his corner several times for treatment but when they could not stop the flow of blood the referee had no option but to end the contest. He was declared a 4-0 loser because he was down on all four judges’ cards at the time.
“I tried my best but I was unlucky. I’m sorry that I let the fans down again,” said Chatchai, who is a three-time SEA Games gold medallist but is still without an Asian Games medal after three attempts.
“I think this will be my last Asian Games. But I will go back, work hard and stay fit for a chance to compete in the 2020 Olympics.”
The Kingdom was later boosted by reigning light welterweight champion Wuttichai Masuk who, despite a swelling on his forehead, beat Bekdaulet Ibragimov of Kazakhstan 4-1 to become the sixth Thai fighter into the semis, his third last-four appearance.
The others are Saylom Ardee (men’s welterweight), Rujakran Juntrong (men’s lightweight), Yuttapong Tongdee (men’s flyweight), Sudaporn Seesondee (women’s lightweight) and Nilawan Techasuep (women’s featherweight).
In volleyball, the women’s team secured back-to-back Asian Games semi-final appearances, beating Vietnam 3-0 (25-23 25-16 25-20).
Sadly, outside spiker Chatchu On Moksri had to be carried off after stepping on teammate Thatdao Kokram’s foot in the second set and collapsing in great pain. She twisted her ankle and was sent to hospital.
National volleyball coach Danai Sriwatcharamethakul was nonetheless satisfied with the result.
“Now we have reached our target,” he said. “Anything from here is a bonus. Some players will be hoping for more as this will be their last Asian Games.
“Losing Chatchu On will definitely affect the team but we have some replacements. We need to be careful to prevent [more] players from getting injured. “Hopefully she will be able to recover as soon as possible,” he added.
A doctor later examined Chatchu On, however, and suggested it would take her about 2 weeks to recover.
Thailand will play South Korea in tomorrow’s semi-final (5pm).
“Against South Korea, we have to use good serves like we did against Japan. I believe we stand a chance,” the coach said.
Elsewhere, Thailand’s pencat silat team turned produced two silvers and one bronze. Ilyas Sadara won silver in the men’s singles, as did Saowanee Chanthamunee and Oraya Choosuwan in the women’s doubles. The bronze came from the women’s team.
In sepak takraw, the women’s quadrant team picked up their second straight preliminary round win, outclassing Vietnam 2-0 in Group B.