46th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open
Third grand double for Thailand
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8th September, Bangkok: Thailand celebrated its third grand double after topseeds, Annop Arromsaranon and Ramita Sarntong captured the Men's and Women's Open Masters titles of the 46th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open on Friday evening.

Arromsaranon and challenger, Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia started on equal terms with a strike and a marked frame each. Whilst the Thai added a three strikes-in-a-row in the third, fourth and fifth frames, the Malaysian could not find any strikes.

Then the match ignited as both contenders rolled four consecutive strikes each. At this stage, Arromsaranon was just 12 pins ahead with the final frame to go. Both had splits and not being able to convert them, the topseed only needed one match to claim the title, 234-222.

Arromsaranon, who has not won the Thailand Open title ever, became the fifth Thai to emerge as the Men's Open champion and winning 350,000 Thai baht (approx. US$9,500). Kim Bolley, Yannaphon Larpapharat (twice), Surasak Manuwong and Sithiphol Kunaksorn were previous Thai champions.

2022 Thailand Open champions, Ramita Sarntong and Annop Arromsaranon

Rafiq, who won the title in 2015, settled for second and taking home 180,000 Thai baht. The second-seed had earlier dispatched third-seed, Won Jong Hyeok of Korea and winner of the first match, Mike Ong Jing Long of Singapore, 258-203-215 to advance to the title match.

Ong, who was seeded sixth, defeated fourth-seed, Syafiq Ridhwan of Malaysia and Park Sang Jin of Korea, 259-226-225, to pocket 90,000 Thai baht.

In the earlier Round 3 finals, the champion claimed top spot with 1430 pinfalls followed by Rafiq in second with 1410. Wong and Syafiq took third and fourth spots with 1395 and 1376 while the last two stepladder positions went to Park and Ong.

Meanwhile, another talent has emerged following the footsteps of past Thailand Open women champions like Angkana Netvreseth (2014) and Yanee Saebe (2016). Topseed Ramita Sarntong was fearless throughout the two rounds of finals including the stepladder finals.

Men's Open top 3 winners, Rafiq Ismail, Annop Arromsaranon and Mike Ong

The 17-year-old 21st Asian Junior Championships All-Events gold medallist, started off brilliantly with a spare in her opening frame followed by four strikes-in-a-row to open up a huge gap against challenger, Oh Hyun Ji of Korea in the title match.

The Korean just could not repeat the form she displayed in the earlier matches. Despite missing a single-pin spare in the ninth frame, Ramita struck out to win comfortably, 224-193 to become the youngest-ever Thai to win the Women's Open crown. She also earned a big pay-check of 130,000 Thai baht.

Oh, who settled for second and pocketed 65,000 Thai baht, had eliminated strong opponents, second-seed Shayna Ng and third-seed Jazreel Tan of Singapore, 245-233-223 to face the Thai. Oh, who was seeded fifth, also defeated another Singaporean, Colleen Pee and Natasha Roslan of Malaysia, 237-210-180 in the first stepladder match.

Ng, who won the women's title in 2018, finished third to take home 32,000 Thai baht leaving Tan, Pee and Natasha settling for fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.

Women's Open top 3 winners, Oh Hyun Ji, Ramita Sanrtong and Shayna Ng

The earlier Round 3 finals saw Ramita a runaway winner with 1409. Ng, who trailed the Thai all the way finished second with 1385 followed by Tan in third with 1326. Pee, Oh and Natasha made the stepladder in fourth to sixth positions with 1323, 1319 and 1267.

A total of 97 men and 43 women participated in the 46th edition of the Thailand International Open which concluded this evening. The 47th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open is slated to be held in July 2023, just after the 2023 Asian Youth Championships.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Bangkok, Thailand.

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