Badminton: Thai ace Ratchanok pledges to bring home Olympic medal

Ratchanok Intanon celebrates after beating China's Sun Yu in the women's finals of the OUE Singapore Open, on April 17, 2016.
Ratchanok Intanon celebrates after beating China's Sun Yu in the women's finals of the OUE Singapore Open, on April 17, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's 21-year-old badminton star Ratchanok Intanon said Thursday she was "100 per cent confident" she would bring home a medal in the Rio Olympics, despite slipping from her top ranking last week.

Ratchanokwas crowned the world's No. 1 women's singles player last month after sealing three successive Superseries titles in as many weeks.

But she was bumped back to second place, behind Spain's Carolina Marin, after an elimination in last week's Badminton Asia Championship.

Ratchanok nevertheless vowed to bring home Thailand's first ever badminton Olympic medal.

"I am 100 per cent confident I will get a medal," she said from the court on the outskirts of Bangkok where she trains daily. "The whole world will be watching. I want to get a medal, no matter which medal it is."

Olympic success would mean redemption for Ratchanok, who was crushed after she was eliminated in the London 2012 quarter-finals. She became badminton's youngest ever world champion the following year.

Her Chinese coach, Xie Zhihua, said he had faith in the "fearless" player, who has consistently set and reached her sporting goals.

"Now the only thing she lacks is an Olympic medal," he said.