Thailand’s Dechapol and Sapsiree make history as badminton world champions

Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh (L) and Sapsiree Taerattanachai celebrate beating Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino after the mixed doubles final badminton match of the BWF World Championships in Huelva, on December 19, 2021. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, the world’s top ranked mixed doubles team, beat Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan 2-0 in the finals of the 2021 badminton tournament in Spain.

The pair made history as the first Thai mixed doubles badminton team to win the world championship. Previously, they were runners-up in the 2019 World Championships in Switzerland and are the second Thai badminton pair to win the world championship. The first Thai to win was Ratchanok Intanon in 2013.

Dechapol and Sapsiree revealed that the secret to their success is being in good physical condition, making it possible to compete continuously without injury. They dedicated their success to all Thai people as a New Year gift.

2021 has been a golden year for the pair, who have won 8 titles and, to date, 25 consecutive matches. As for the World Badminton Federation competition calendar next year, they will kick off with the India Open on 11th through 16th January.

Many might wonder why the Badminton Association of Thailand flag was raised during the award ceremony, instead of the Thai national flag. This is because the World Anti-Doping Organization (WADA), announced a ban on Thailand hosting regional, continental and world sporting events, including prohibiting the use of the Thai flag for a year, because Thailand did not comply with the WADA’s anti-doping requirements.

Thai athletes are able to compete in international competitions but, in competitions under the supervision of WADA, banned countries are not be allowed to use their national flag until the ban is lifted.



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