Pattaya Daily News

24 August 2008 :: 07:08:29 am 42963

Somjit Wins Gold, Manus Gets Silver

BEIJING:Somjit Jongjohor of Thailand won the first boxing gold medal of the Olympics on Saturday, beating Cuba?s Andris Laffita 8-2 to claim the flyweight title.
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Somjit achieved his gold medal but the sometime playboy who promised to clean up his act, did become good again, but Manus ‘only’ scored a silver.

The 33-year-old former world champion was fighting in his last Olympics. He used his experience for a surprisingly easy win over Laffita, the 30-year-old in his first games for the Cuban team.

Somjit feared his time had passed after he lost to Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa early in the Athens Games four years ago.

The 33 year-old who won a 2007 world championship silver medal, hoped to add an Olympic gold to the world title he won back in 2003, with this Olympics definitely his last chance, as he will be too old for the next Olympics in London in 2012.

“Several times I wanted to give up,” he said after beating Laffita.

“In Greece, I managed to get there and I lost to a Cuban. I thought I was at my peak of my career then, the right age and right fitness, so that was really hard. But people in Thailand told me I still had fight left in me, so I went back to training, and now I’ve got the gold medal.”

The former world champion earned it decisively in his final Olympic bout. Somjit then held up a photo of Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej before kneeling to pray as hundreds of his countrymen waved flags in the stands and chanted his name.

Mr. Somjit said earlier that he wanted to won the gold medal for his son, and he successfully did it, closing his boxing carrier gloriously.

Four years ago, it was light welterweight Manus Boonjumnong who was displaying the same picture in the ring, along with his gold medal. But Manus was decisively beaten by Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic 12-4 in an absolute brawl.

Manus continuously was beaten to the punch by Diaz, who won the first gold in boxing for his Caribbean nation.

“Even though I would like to have had the gold medal, the silver is satisfactory,” Manus said. “I am the first Thai to win medals in consecutive games.

“It wasn’t such a surprise (to lose). My opponent fought very good today and I accept it.” He did find it difficult to accept landing several punches early in the fight and not getting any points. Of course, that seems to happen in every bout.

“Frankly, I lost concentration after the first round,” he said, “especially when my score did not go up after three clear punches.

“We did all we planned and my punches went well. There was nothing wrong with my performance but the judges.”

Mr. Manus, 28 is notorious at home for being a playboy who squandered prize money worth about Bt20 million within months after claiming the light welterweight gold in Athens in 2004.

But he returned to the limelight by winning the Asian Games gold medal in 2007, vowing his bad habits would be a thing of the past.

Thailand overall won two gold medals and two silver medals in the Beijing Olympic Games. The first gold medal came from “Nong Kae” Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon in the women’s weigh lifting 53kg category, and a silver medal from Buttree Puedpong in the women’s taekwondo 49 kg division.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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