Rawinda dreams big with Jongkolphan, sets sights on Olympics medal

Thailand’s women's doubles pair Jongkolphan Kititharakul (left) and Rawinda Prajongjai in a training session ahead of the Asia Team Championships at Setia Alam Convention Centre on Monday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

SHAH ALAM: Thailand’s women’s doubles shuttler Rawinda Prajongjai is not afraid of dreaming big.

Rawinda has set her sights on capturing a historic medal in the Paris Olympics along with Jongkolphan Kititharakul.

No Thai shuttler has ever won a medal in the Olympics before.

Rawinda and Jongkolphan, who are the country’s top women’s doubles pair and currently ranked No. 10 in the world, are out to end the long wait.

“First of all, our aim is to secure qualification for our second Olympics,” said Rawinda.

“Once we get there, we want to win a medal. Our country has never won a medal in badminton in the Olympics and we hope to be the first to achieve this.”

Both Rawinda and Jongkolphan will turn 31 before the Olympics rolls around in July and know that they might not get another opportunity to create history.

The pair, who reached a career-high No. 5 in the world at the end of 2022, finished runners-up twice last October in the Arctic and French Opens.

While the Olympics is the pair’s biggest target this year, their focus now is on the Asia Team Championships starting today at the Setia Alam Convention Centre.

Thailand will open their campaign against minnows United Arab Emirates today before facing Malaysia on Thursday.

Rawinda is out to help her team secure a podium finish.

“My target is to win a medal with the team,” said Rawinda.

“We have a strong chance of finishing top of our group but we know that it won’t be easy against Malaysia, who will have the support of the home fans.”

The top two teams will advance to the last eight.

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