Asean Schools Games: Straightforward pep talk helps Thais serve pressure on court

Thailand's Thanapet Chanta, who was part of the Thailand boys' team that won the team title at the Tanglin Academy on Monday (July 17).
Thailand's Thanapet Chanta, who was part of the Thailand boys' team that won the team title at the Tanglin Academy on Monday (July 17).PHOTO: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION/CHIN KOK KAI

SINGAPORE - As spectators stood around the scoreboard at the Tanglin Academy, comments like "The Thais are good" were thrown around a lot.

Indeed, they were good. Other than a close 3-2 victory against Indonesia's girls team, Thailand have dominated throughout the entire tennis team tournament of the Asean Schools Games (ASG) and have lost none of their matches.

However, it is more than just skills and abilities in play. The secret is their mental preparation.

Thailand's Anchisa Chanta said: "Everyone knows what the country has achieved before. But before the Games, our coach tells us to just play our best."

While it might sound like a simple pre-match pep talk, it has worked a treat for the 15-year-old, who beat Singapore's Nadine Loh 9-1 in the second singles match.

She said: "I entered the competition with no pressure and was really relaxed.

"It helped in my performance because I was able to focus on my game only and nothing else."

The Year 2 student from the Suphanburi Sport School can also count on family support. Her brother, Thanapet, also competes in tennis at this year's ASG.

The 18-year-old said: "Whenever we have any pressure or problems, we talk. I can go to her and she can come to me, and we help each other."

The Thais rounded off their impressive campaign with 5-0 wins over Singapore's boys (9-1, 9-3, 9-1, 9-2, 9-3) and girls (9-0, 9-1, 9-3, 9-2, 9-1) on Monday (July 17) to beat regional rivals Indonesia to the gold medal for both boys' and girls' categories.

The Philippines swept home both bronze medals, while Singapore finished fifth.

The semi-finals of the boys and girls individual, and mixed doubles will take place on Tuesday (July 18) at the same venue.