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London Games 2012

Kaew hopes to maintain Thailand's medal record

SAILOM ARDEE leaves the ring after his controversial defeat to Gani Zhailauov

SAILOM ARDEE leaves the ring after his controversial defeat to Gani Zhailauov

With one of the Kingdom's medal hopes eliminated in the form of Sailom Ardee, veteran light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon will try to maintain the country's hopes in boxing, when he faces Algeria's Mohamed Flissi early tomorrow morning, Bangkok time.

Sailom was the first of the three Thai fighters in London to start his campaign on Sunday but he was unable to escape the same fate he suffered in Beijing four years ago, going down to fifthseeded Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan in the preliminary round of the 60kg category.

Sailom's failure to clear the first hurdle was bitter this time as the Thai boxed valiantly to stay in the fight right to the end, which finished in a 1212 draw. The two fighters had to wait in the middle of the ring for about 30 seconds before Zhailauov was pronounced the winner on countback, much to the surprise of the Kazakh fighter himself, who had stood with the look of a man resigned to defeat.

"There was no chance that I could lose this fight. I felt things had not gone right after the end of the second round even though I didn't take any punch. I'm really disappointed with the judging system," said Sailom.

There was more controversy over Sailom's defeat with coach Thong Taweekhun claiming that the officials rejected the Thai team's protest over the outcome.

"After consulting with General Boonlerd Kaewprasith, the president of the Thailand Boxing Association, we decided to register a protest. We submitted it to an official, who told us to wait for 15 minutes.

"The official came back after we waited for an hour, saying that the protest should have been done within the stipulated time of 30 minutes after the fight ended. It looked suspicious because if we filed the protest too late, why did the official accept it at the first place?" said Thong.

On Kaew's fight, which is scheduled at 3.15am Wednesday (Bangkok time), Thong said the two fighters has an equal chance for a win.

"Kaew is at a disadvantage, physically. Against a taller opponent, we need to box from close range, alternating blows on head and body. We need to be patient and wait for the opportunity. When we get a chance, we must seize on it with a series of punches.

"All the fighters at the Games are strong and have come into the Games well prepared. So, the two boxers will have an equal chance to move into the next stage. It depends on who makes better use of the chances," said Thong.


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