August 04, 2012 00:00
By Anuchit Kulwanich
Ratchanok Inthanon has been offered a multimillion-baht deal by a Chinese badminton club after they observed the Thai teenage phenomenon's brilliant performance in London.
The 17-year-old from Yasothorn thrilled fans around the country when she gave world No 2 Wang Xin of China a scare before eventually losing their Olympics quarter-final match 21-17 18-21 14-21 on Thursday night.
In her Olympic debut, Ratchanok topped her Group, then clinched an upset win over fifth seed Juliane Schenk of Germany in the round of 16 before putting up a gutsy fight against Wang, the 2010 World Championships silver medallist.
Kamala Thongkorn, the manager of Ratchanok’s home club, Ban Thong Yod, said her splendid form had caught the attention of Tsingtao Club, who proposed a seven-figure contract for her services in the Chinese Super League.
Ratchanok, who became the first Thai shuttler to reach the Olympics women’s singles quarter-finals, expressed interest in the deal but said she would study the details when she returned home.
“The deal is quite interesting, but what is more important is the chance it offers to develop my skills against the many top players in the Chinese league. But I will have to consult my guardians, because I’m concerned about my studies, too,’’ said Ratchanok who, if she accepts the deal, will fly to China on August 23 to represent the club until December. She is also due to play for Thailand in the Japan Open and China Masters in September.
The three-time World Junior champion admitted to losing sleep last night after coming so close to upsetting the world No 2, winning the first game then leading 16-9 in the second before her more experienced rival turned the tide.
“It’s a shame, because I should have won that match, but I let it slip away,’’ said Ratchanok.