Thai-tanic tumble for world champ Kean Yew as Kunlavut serves stunner

YOUNGSTER Kunlavut Vitidsarn (pic) won Thailand’s first SEA Games men’s singles gold in nine years after stunning Singapore’s reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew in the final yesterday.

The 21-year-old sensation was in commanding form from start to finish in his 21-13, 21-13 win over Kean Yew who had to settle for silver yet again after his runner-up finish to Lee Zii Jia in the last edition in 2019.

It was Kunlavut’s second win over the Singaporean after also getting the better of him in last year’s Thailand Open.

Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk was the last Thai to win gold in the men’s singles in the 2013 Games.

The gold was Kunlavut’s second after also winning the team event.

Thailand also swept the women’s singles gold through Pornpawee Chochuwong who defeated compatriot Phittayaporn Chaiwan 21-14, 21-16 in the final.

In the women’s doubles, sisters Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard failed to make it a triple joy for Thailand after going down 17-21, 14-21 to Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti.

Meanwhile, in an all-Indonesian affair in the men’s doubles, three-time world junior champions Leo Rolly-Daniel Marthin stunned newly crowned Asian champions and top seeds Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Rambitan 21-17, 21-19 to emerge winners.

Thailand emerged as the overall champions in badminton with four golds and two silvers. Last week, they won the men and women’s team titles.

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