Published on December 7, 2007
The local sides took advantage of the mental collapse from defending champions Burma to reclaim the gold they lost in the final in Manila two years ago.
Relying on a wise, strategic move, the women's team scored 630 points to beat the mentally fragile Burma who managed to chalk up 590 points.
Led by coach Amorn Srisawat, the local players scored less than their rivals - 580-650 - in the preliminary round on purpose, so that they would not have to start the final behind their opponents. According to the rules, the team with the lower score in the prelims must start first.
"It was our strategy to start the final first so that we could set the standard for the Burmese team to beat. We would have been under great pressure had we started second and tried to better their score," said the national coach who has succeeded with this ploy in last month's Asian Indoor Games.
Team captain Sahattiya Phaksra said: "We finally got revenge for that loss in Manila. We were very excited but we tried to concentrate through the 30 minutes, which was the key."
Burma, the pre-tournament favourites, were nowhere near the form that saw them top a score of 650 in the prelims.
But Thailand, back by crowd support, kept increasing their momentum as they dropped the ball into the hoop. They were superb with their inner kicks but had to improve their backflips, with which only Jiraporn Choochuen found the target just once. Viparat Ruanrat, the only player to hit the hoop with the knee kick, was the top scorer with 140. Philippines beat Vietnam 550-480 for bronze.
The men later emulated the women by staging a master class performance to tame Burma 930-760 for the second gold medal. It was the best mark the local team had ever notched in the final while Burma were below par when compared to the 820 points they achieved in the prelims.
Skipper Saharat Ounumpai emerged the top scorer with an impressive 210 points.
"It was our best score as we scored 920 in the Asian Indoor Games in Macau. We expected Burma to gain around 800 but their score dropped to 790 which made it easier for us,'' Saharat said.
Indonesia took the bronze after beating the Philippines 650-600.
There are six more gold medals to be competed in sepak takraw.