Thailand’s Suphattha Inkhaoyoi scorched the Khalifa Sports City track clinching the first gold medal of the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games when she won the women's shot put U20 F12 event, as Para Athletics and Para Swimming events kicked off on Friday (4 December).
Inkhaoyoi hurled the shot put to a distance of 7.16m in her second of the six attempts to take gold. India's Ananya Bansal (7.05m) and South Korea's SoJeong Min (5.87m) finished second and third respectively, in F20 category.
“I am very happy and very proud of myself that I can reach my first gold medal. My next goal is ASEAN Para Games, Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games and the Paralympics,” said Inkhaoyoi, who played her first international event in Bahrain.
For Thailand, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist Athiwat Paeng-Nuea too stole the show winning the men’s 400m U-20 T54 with a timing of 49.1s finishing ahead of South Korea’s Jongku Lee and Bahrain’s Nassar Alwaqza.
ZAINA WINS FIRST GOLD FOR HOSTS
It was a golden opening day for the hosts Bahrain at the Khalifa Sports City as Zaina Albalooshi claimed the gold in the women’s shot put U-17 F40-46/61-64 hurling the shot put to a distance of 4.17m.
“I am very happy to get this medal and especially winning it at my home makes it special. I want to travel the world and play in a lot of competition. I want to thank my parents and coach for supporting me always,” said the 15-year-old Albalooshi, who competed in her first international meet here.
“Of course, competing at the Paralympics is my dream,” she added.
Later, teammate Maryam Alhamidi took Bahrain’s second medal at the Games – a silver in the women's shot put U-17 F46 and bronze medals were added by Bassam Ameeri (men’s javelin U-20 F33-34) and Nassar Alwaqza (men’s 400m U-20 T51-54) giving the locals medals of each colour to celebrate.
But it was Iran who were on top at the end of the first day of Para Athletics, clearly setting out their intentions to improve on their second position at the last three Asian Youth Para Games. Overall, Iran topped the medals standings with 29 medals including 9 gold, with Thailand and Japan following with 7 and 5 gold, respectively.
At the Isa Sports Stadium, South Korea’s men continued their winning run in goalball pool matches storming to comfortable victories in both their matches against Jordan and Saudi Arabia by big margins. Iran, Iraq and Thailand also impressed.
THAILAND DOMINATES IN BOCCIA, SOUTH KOREA IN GOALBALL
Meanwhile in boccia, it was Thailand who yet again demonstrated their country’s strength in this sport by securing many play-off spots. In the BC3 female matches, it will be an all-Thai affair between Ladamanee Kla- and Juthamat Rattana. While Hong Kong’s Ho Yan Chan will meet Iran’s Fatemeh Kheyrkhaha in the other last four match.
In the men’s medal events, Thailand’s Natthawut Deemak is through to the semi-finals as is Indonesia’s Muhamad Syafa in the BC1 event. In BC2 event, it will again Thailand vs Indonesia - Phakphum Linchum meeting Muhammad Satria.
In the BC3 event, Thailand’s Thongchai Dokbua will meet Singapore’s Aloysius Gan, while Korea’s Sion Jeong play against Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Alsamkari in the other semi-finals.
IRAN, THE TEAM TO BEAT IN WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
In wheelchair basketball, the pool matches continued. Iran had another good day after a convincing victory over Iraq (102–27) to maintain their 100% record. Earlier, Bahrain made a winning start to their campaign defeating Saudi Arabia.
The wheelchair basketball competition is acting as the qualification tournament for the 2022 Men’s U-23 World Championship thus all eyes are on the competition.
The table tennis pool matches also continued with medals in the singles events to be decided later in the day. In badminton, the pool matches for singles and doubles events continued with players from Indonesia, India, South Korea and Thailand ruling the roost. The finals will be played on Sunday.
The Games opened with a spectacular show on Thursday (2) and Asian Paralympic Committee President Majid Rashed stated the importance of the Games:
“They are a fundamental part of growing the Paralympic Movement across our region so that more Asian Para athletes can shine and in doing so they can help to shift perceptions of what all people with impairment are capable of. In this way, we can start to deliver on the APC’s vision ‘to make for an inclusive Asia through para sport.’"
More information and results about the Asian Youth Para Games can be found on the Asian Paralympic Committee website.