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Thai world champion eyes Olympic gold, top ranking

Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon hits a return to China's Li Xuerui during their women's singles final match at the 2013 Badminton World Champio
Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon hits a return to China's Li Xuerui during their women's singles final match at the 2013 Badminton World Champio

(Reuters) - Celebrations have not stopped since Ratchanok Intanon became the new world champion but the Thai shuttler has already set herself the twin targets of becoming world number one and winning the 2016 Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro.

Since her arrival back from China on Sunday night, the 18-year-old has received an award from the royal family, posed for a magazine, attended a talk show and dined with her family as the southeast Asian country celebrated their first ever badminton world champion.

None of these, however, could distract the current world number three from setting her sights on new goals.

"I want to be No 1 in the world within one or two years and to win the Olympics gold medal at Rio de Janeiro," Ratchanok was quoted as saying by the Nation newspaper on Tuesday.

Local media have showered praise on the 'historic' achievement of May, as Ratchanok is fondly called, and the shuttler received bouquets from the royal family to go with the "Grateful Child" shield she got at Thailand's National Mother's Day ceremony on Monday.

"I'm even more inspired to work harder and try to win more tournaments," said Ratchanok, who upset Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the women's singles on Sunday.

Her immediate plan was to buy a refrigerator and a washing machine for her mother Kamphan, who works in a sweet factory.

"I always taught her to be humble as she was not from a rich family like other kids. I told her to be well behaved. She is a very well disciplined girl. That's why she has got to this stage," Kamphan said.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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