Comments were received from Suthasini Sawettabut (THA) who participated in the SEA Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 13th to 20nd May 2022. She won two titles, women’s team and women’s doubles; also, she was the runner-up in the women’s singles losing against her compatriot, Orawan Paranang, in the final.
She recalled the event.
1. How important is the SEA Games for you and Thai athletes?
I think the SEA Games is one of the most important tournaments for Thailand even if it is not a big tournament like the World Championships or Olympics. SEA Games has its own value for Southeast Asian players, especially for Thai players. In table tennis, it is very difficult for Thai players to win a gold medal in the SEA Games since Singapore has many players with Chinese backgrounds. This is the reason why a gold medal in the SEA Games has a special value for Thai players and Thai fans.
2. Singapore had won the women’s team event nine consecutive times prior to the most recent edition; it is the first time that the Thai women’s team has won the title. How do you feel about winning the women’s team event with your sister Jinnipa?
It was a fantastic moment for me and my sister. We have never won a gold medal in the women’s team event before, so this was the first time for the Thailand team. I cried after my younger sister’s match; it was not because we had won the gold medal but because I was proud that my younger sister could overcome the pressure and secure the victory for Thailand. I think this is a big step forward at international level.
3. You won a silver medal in the women’s singles event. You won gold in 2015, so this time you must have really tried hard to win your second singles title at the SEA Games, but you lost against your doubles partner, Orawan Paranang. How are you feeling?
I have to accept that I’m not satisfied with the silver medal, but my partner performed very well during the tournament. However, this is sport, so whether I win or lose, it is a good experience for me to move forward and improve myself for the next tournament.
Earlier, Sawettabut had competed in the Nojima T.League tournament in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons from Nippon Paint Mallets. Before coming to Japan, she had commented: “I want to be stronger by practising in Japan and win matches there.” After her arrival in Japan her performance was strong enough to be chosen as the MVP for the first half in the 2019-2020 season. In addition, she made it to the top 16 in the women’s singles event both at the Tokyo Olympic Games and later at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Houston. She will definitely make the best use of the experience gained at the recent SEA Games to improve herself.
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