Thais jet ahead at Asian Beach Games

Hosts Thailand plundered more gold in the 4th Asian Beach Games yesterday, sealing crucial victories to maintain their commanding lead in the medal tally.

Despite another searing day in the seaside resort, crowds of Thai spectators and tourists braved the sun to watch the fun-packed competition on Phuket's beaches and venues including Karon, Patong, Naiyang and the Sapan Hin Sports Centre.

Thailand got off to a great start when jetski riders raised local cheers by claiming two gold medals. Talented Teerapong Khunjeng took the roundabout 1000cc Superstock title while Veerapong Maneechom captured the Ski Open.

In the woodball, the Thai men's fairway team of Peera Chaisongkram (who took the men's individual fairway crown on Friday) Sarawuth Intarasiri, Siraphop Wannapin and Naluenat Puangmaduea dominated their rivals to grab the title.

In beach volleyball yesterday, only two Thai pairings contested the pool round-robin preliminaries, with Thailand B's Kittipat Yungthin and Prathip Sukto outclassing Rahman and Zabir of Bangladesh 21-11 21-12. Thailand A's Sittichai Sangkhachot and Nuttanon Inkiew, who went down to Iran 2-1 on Sunday, struggled past Sadiq Almohsen and Hasan Qapqoor of Bahrain 21-19 21-12 in their second clash.

"We lost our first encounter on Sunday and we couldn't afford another defeat today. We had to play more carefully in this crucial match. It's hot, but the blazing sun didn't affect our performance. We get a rest day on Tuesday [today] and resume the competition the following day. I just want to do my best here, so we haven't set any target," said Nuttanoonn Inkiew.

In the basketball at on North Karon Beach, Thailand's men and women scored victories. The hosts' women's cagers thrashed Turkmenistan 15-10 in their Group B preliminary clash, while the men outclassed Bhutan 12-5, also in Group B preliminaries.

The Thailand beach football team, who beat Kuwait 2-0 to survive a first-round exit for the first time, narrowly edged Vietnam 5-4 in their first-round Group A encounter at the Saphan Hin Sports Centre.

China swept both golds on offer in the marathon swim yesterday, with Feng Yanqiao clocking 2:16.12.1 hours in the women's 10km and Zu Lijun swimming 2:01.43.1 in the men's 10km event.

At press time, Thailand were dominant in the medal standings with 12 gold, 12 silver and 17 bronze medals.

Defending overall champions China had leapfrogged into second with six golds, four silvers and nine bronzes, followed by Mongolia, also on six golds. Kazakhstan were fourth with five golds, head of Japan with the same number.