July 10, 2012 00:00 By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam, Henry Le
Weightlifter left out of squad for London Games
The Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association (Tawa) yesterday sprang a major surprise by omitting reigning Olympic champion Prapavadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon from the final list for the London Games.
Tawa president Intarat Yodbangteoy said Pravadee, who claimed gold in the 53kg event in Beijing four years ago, was not in the seven-member line-up of four women and three men.
Pornchai Lopsri was another surprise omission. Intarat said Prapavadee failed to impress the selection committee, with recent performances not matching up to those of her team-mates. He said her chance of winning a medal in London was bleak.
“We didn’t want to take the risk. We should focus on girls who have the potential to win a medal,” reasoned the Tawa boss, who also said he preferred to send younger weightlifters to the Games.
“None of those in the line-up is over 23. We have to admit that 28 [Prapavadee’s age] is a bit too old for the Olympics,” he said.
Intarat said the coaching staff had consoled the Olympic champ and discussed her future.
“She is still eligible for the World University Games. And we are trying to talk to her into going to London and helping her team-mates,’’ Intarat said.
Tawa decided to field four women in two categories. Panida Khamsri and Siriwimol Pramongkol have been chosen for the 48kg and Pimsiri Sirikaew and Rattikarn Kulnoi in the 58kg division.
Among the men, Attapol Dangjunthuek, Jatupoom Chinwong and Pittaya Teebnok have been selected for the 69 kg, 77kg, and 85kg divisions respectively.
Intarat said selection had been based on results from the World Championships, Asian Games and SEA Games, as well as National Selection on June 9, and training. The committee also focused on the determination shown by each weightlifter, their chances against rivals, their fitness and health and their ability to work with the team.
Intarat said that of the two women’s categories, Thailand’s best shot was in the 58kg division, with a Chinese weightlifter expected to break the world record in the 48kg class.
“Barring an upset, China should win the 48kg as their record of 94 in the snatch and 126kg in clean and jerk is equal to the world record.
“So we’ll send Pimsiri and Rattikarn in the 58kg. If one misses out, we still have a chance with the other. We have devised a strategy to stay neck and neck with the Chinese weightlifters.”
Although Thailand’s men have rarely shone in international weightlifting, Intrarat said fans should watch the 77kg division for Jatupoom Chinwong, who won a silver medal at the 2010 Youth Olympics.
Roger Federer says he has not decided whether to accept an offer to carry Switzerland’s flag during July 27’s opening ceremony for the Olympics.
Federer said yesterday he might give the honour to someone else.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion was the Swiss flag-bearer at two other Summer Games.
He teamed with Stanislas Wawrinka to win a gold medal in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Speaking a day after winning his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title, Federer said an announcement on the flag choice could come “in the next 10 days or so.”