|Bangkok, Thailand, February 26, 2005 - Thailand can net its best-ever international Beach Volleyball medal as the host country has advanced two teams here Saturday to the semi-finals of the US$10,000 Mazda Satellite event against tandems from China and Italy.
Tenth-seeded Kamoltip Kulna and Usa Tenpaksee of Thailand had to win two matches Saturday to advance to the ""final four"" where they face second-seeded Diletta Lunardi and Annamaria Solazzi of Italy in Sunday's second-semi-finals. It will be the second-time in the competition that the two teams have faced each other with the Italians winning 21-18 and 21-10 Thursday.
Kulna and Tenpaksee gained a semi spot with a 21-11 and 22-20 win over fourth-seeded Devota Rahawarin and Timy Yudhani Rahayu of Indonesia after eliminating eighth-seeded Mai Thi Hoa and Phan Thi Cam Hong of Vietnam 21-12 and 21-16.
Sixth-seeded Kasinee Godtalang and Arawan Tongkamkak of Thailand, who play top-seeded Linjun Ji and Whenhui You of China in Sunday's first semi-final match, advanced to the ""final four"" by eliminating seventh-seeded Megan Avery and Larraine Busch of Australia 28-26, 13-21 and 15-9. Godtalang and Togkamkak dropped a 21-12 and 21-19 decision to the Italians in their first match Saturday afternoon.
While Lunardi and Solazzi were earning their spot in the ""final four"" with a win over Godtalang and Togkamkak, Linjun Ji and Whenhui You posted a 21-10 and 21-14 win over Rahawarin and Timy to advance to the semi-finals. Solazzi (1996 and 2000), Whenhui You (2004) and Timy (1996) are Beach Volleyball Olympians.
Sunday's winner will net the $2,000 first-place prize as Thailand hosts its second FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball event. With two teams scheduled to play in Sunday's medal rounds, Thailand has an opportunity for its best-ever internatioal Beach Volleyball placement. Rattanaporn Arlaisuk and Manatsanan Pangka captured the bronze medal in the 2001 Thailand Challenger event where they defeated Kulna and Jarunee Sannok in the third-place match in Pattaya, Thailand. Sannok finished seventh this week with Yupa Puklongploy as the ninth-seeded tandem in the 12-team field.