**Supanida Katethong: A Rising Star in Badminton Eyeing Olympic Paris 2024**

Leon To

Sat May 25 2024

Supanida Katethong
Thailand Open 2024
Olympic Paris 2024
Gregoria Mariska Tunjung

In a thrilling quarter-final match at the Thailand Open 2024, Supanida Katethong proved her worth by defeating the 9th-ranked player in the world, Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia. This victory holds immense significance for Katethong as it marked her first win in a tournament of Super 300 level or higher in over a year. It also put an end to a 5-year wait for Katethong to triumph over Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. Consequently, Katethong secured a spot in the semi-finals of the Thailand Open.

This triumph serves as a reminder that even two months after the end of the qualifying rounds for the Olympic Paris 2024, Supanida Katethong continues to make strides by competing against top-10 world representatives like Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. "It is a meaningful victory. It shows that I have the ability to reach the next level," emphasized the 26-year-old left-handed player currently ranked 16th in the world. "It tells me that I can contend with the top 10 players and that I deserve my place at the Olympics. It gives me a lot of confidence as Paris draws near. There's clearly much more to improve, but I will train diligently – just about 20% away from achieving the best version of myself."

Katethong takes pride in her 14-21, 22-20, 22-20 win – the first time she has defeated Tunjung since 2017, ironically at the same venue and tournament. Coming back from a loss in the first game, she had to overcome a 13-16 deficit in the second game and save a match point in the third game before clinching the victory. "It was high pressure, and at times made me feel uncomfortable. Tunjung's style is not one I prefer facing, she is very crafty, and her wrist movements are really good. You're not enough to cope with," Katethong shared. "I kept believing, and the coach's feedback helped a lot. I tried to stay calm and focused during tough moments."

Katethong will be among the first-time Olympic athletes heading to France. Her runner-up position at the Spain Masters means she has earned enough points to secure a spot and will join Ratchanok Intanon at the Summer Games as both Thai players are in the top 16 worldwide. As a result, Thailand becomes the fourth country after South Korea, China, and Japan to have two female singles representatives at Paris 2024.