Gold rush gets underway in Incheon
Incheon: Thailand will try to win their first medal of the Incheon Games today.
They are pinning their hopes to representatives in weightlifting, shooting and badminton.
HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana will also take part in equestrian today when the first 18 gold medals of the 17th Asian Games will be awarded.
In weightlifting, Panida Khamsri will compete in the women’s 48kg class.
Officials said Panida, who took part in the 2012 Olympics, had a good record in training.
However, Thailand coach Apinya Datuyawat admitted that it would be difficult for Panida to win gold with several world-class lifters in the tournament.
"The Chinese are very strong in the sport. It will be a tough task for Panida to win gold but she could get a podium finish. We will do our best,’’ Apinya said.
Naphaswan Yangpaiboon, Pim-on Klaisuwan and Princhuda Methaweewong will take part in the women’s 10m air pistol.
Princess Sirivannavari will compete in the dressage along with teammates Pakinee Pantapa, Ravisara Wachakorn and Chalermcham Yotviriyapanit.
In badminton, the Thai women’s team will face India with the winners assured of at least a bronze medal.
The Thais were silver medallists in the event at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and are led by 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon.
Injury-prone Ratchanok said she was now fully fit and was confident that the team would get past Saina Nehawal-led India.
"Saina has a better head-to-head record against me but I am confident that I will win this time,’’ Ratchanok said.
Meanwhile, China are expected to dominate weightlifting starting today, but it is an Iranian great who is out to confirm his reputation as the world’s strongest man.
Among the behemoths of the sport is reigning Olympic and former world superheavyweight champion is Salimi Behdad, who was picked to carry Iran’s flag at the opening ceremony yesterday.
China dominated proceedings at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, winning eight golds, two silvers and a bronze.
Kazakhstan were the next-best nation four years ago, carrying off three golds.