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  1. #1
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    Bangkok Games begin in glittering ceremony

    24TH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES
    Bangkok Games begin in glittering ceremony
    Some 7,000 athletes start quest for glory

    WANCHAI RUJAWONGSANTI

    HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn opened the 24th World University Games at Rajamangala National Stadium last night.

    ''I now declare the 24th Summer World University Games open,'' said the Crown Prince who represented His Majesty the King.

    He called on the participants to compete with love and unity and wished the Games went on smoothly.

    Thai athletes, including gold medal favourite taekwondo star Yaowapa Burapolchai, took turns to carry the torch around the stadium.

    HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, the Crown Prince's daughter who will compete in badminton, lit the cauldron.

    Another badminton player Boonsak Ponsana, one of Thailand's best gold medal hopes, read the official oath.

    The colourful ceremony featured dances from all regions across the country as well as 40 skydivers carrying flags of the participating countries.

    The extravagant opening programme also promoted His Majesty's initiated projects as fireworks lit the night sky.

    The 40,000-seat Rajamangala National Stadium was almost fully packed with a large number of spectators wearing yellow shirts in honour of His Majesty the King.

    The 24th Universiade is part of the celebrations of His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday on December 5.

    The International University Sports Federation (Fisu) will present an honorary declaration to the King tomorrow.

    The Universiade is for athletes between 17 and 28 and studying for a degree or diploma, or have graduated within the past year.

    Some 7,000 athletes from 158 countires are vying for 236 gold medals in 15 sports _ athletics, aquatics (swimming, diving and water polo), basketball, fencing, football, gymnastics, judo, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, badminton, golf, shooting, softball and taekwondo.

    The host, who are sending 389 athletes and 189 officials to take part in the tournament, are targeting 10 gold medals.

    Their previous best performance was in 2005 when they won one gold, one silver and one bronze.

    The first 15 gold medals to be awarded over the next 10 days will be handed out today.

    Thailand could win three gold medals pinning their hopes on the men's and women's 400m relay teams and taekwondo exponent Rapatkorn Prasopsuk in the women's heavyweight division.

    ''I really want to be Thailand's first medallist of this Games although I am not sure if it would be gold medal,'' said Rapatkorn, a gold medallist at last year's World Cup.

    Thailand are the reigning Asian Games champions in the men's 400m relay and the women's team have been one of Asia's best.

    The men's squad comprise Wachara Sorndee, Pirom Uthat, Sompote Suwannarangsri and Sitthichai Suworaprateep with Pirom not in the 2006 Asiad side.

    The women's quartet are Orranut Klomdee, Sangwan Jaksunin, Jutamas Taworncharoen and Nongnuch Sanrat who won the silver at the 2002 Asian Games.

    The Games are being held at several venues in Bangkok and nearby provinces including Thammasat Rangsit, Hua Mark sports complex, Muang Thong Thani and Supachalasai Stadium.

    The event ends on August 18.

    Bangkok Post

  2. #2
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    Universiade kicks off with style

    WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES / CONCERNS OVER LOW ATTENDANCES
    Universiade kicks off with style

    KITTIPONG THONGSOMBAT & PRADIT RUANGDIT

    The 24th World University Games officially kicked off yesterday with a colourful opening ceremony at Rajamangala National Stadium.

    The Universiade is the second largest global multi-sports event after the Olympics. But despite hosting this year's games, organisers in Thailand have failed to arouse much interest among the public here.

    Event organisers have expressed concern that most of the stadiums will remain empty despite admission being free for students and people over 60.

    Rajamangala National Stadium was almost fully packed to its 40,000-seat capacity for yesterday's opening ceremony. But most of the spectators were students and participants.

    Organisers said only around 1,000 tickets for the opening ceremony were sold, probably because ticket prices from 500 to 1,000 and 1,500 baht were considered too expensive for most people.

    And as some of the key competitions got under way this week, football and basketball games on Tuesday and yesterday failed to draw large crowds.

    Local media have criticised the organising committee, chaired by Education Minister Wijit Srisa-arn, for failing to promote the games properly.

    Thammasat University rector Surapol Nittikraipoj, who is chairman of the Facilities and Athletes' Services Committee of the 2007 Universiade, said if the event turns out to be a flop, it could be blamed on political problems, lack of interest or poor promotion.

    ''Competition at this level may not be to the interest of most fans. Or it may be about (poor) public relations,'' Mr Surapol said.

    However, Australian journalist Dennis Passa said it was difficult for such an event to lure the same kinds of crowds as those seen at the Olympic Games.

    ''It's not of the same calibre as the Olympics, so it's not easy to interest people,'' he said.

    The Thaksin government brought the Universiade to Bangkok, winning the right to host the games four years ago.

    Mr Wijit's committee replaced the previous organising panel chaired by Suwat Liptapanlop after the Thaksin government was toppled in the military coup last September.

    However, Mr Surapol said the committee had already received high praise from several heads of foreign delegations for their organising of the event.

    ''Some say it is the best ever Universiade,'' he said.

    Mr Suwat said that in light of the current political climate, he was proud this government was able to stage the event without any major hiccups.

    ''There may be some problems. But we have to understand that this is the first big event to have been organised by this government,'' he said.

    Bangkok Post

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    Cabbies play it straight at Universiade

    Cabbies play it straight at Universiade


    While athletes at the Universiade Bangkok 2007 games are busy chasing medals, taxi drivers are set on making a fortune.

    More than 70 taxi cabs are available at the Universiade Taxi Service Centre at the Thammasat Rangsit Campus, offering convenient transport for participants who wish to take in Bangkok's attractions or shop for memorabilia.

    Prasith Sangthong, in charge of the centre, said the service opened on August 1 and had received a positive response from passengers.

    "We have more than 100 customers per day. Among the places they want to go are shopping centres, Siam Square, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace," said Prasith, who guaranteed that the drivers would not overcharge.

    "Wherever they want to visit they just have to name. The client's wish is the driver's command," he said.

    "If they want to go to other provinces, they have to pay a charter price. It costs about Bt1,500 to go to Ayutthaya and Bt3,000 to Pattaya."

    The Nation

  4. #4
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    guaranteed that the drivers would not overcharge.
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    they have to pay a charter price
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Bt3,000 to Pattaya."
    seems clear enough

  5. #5
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    Have to pay a charter price at the airports aswell, don't think they gouge you so much there though.

  6. #6
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    UNIVERSITY GAMES
    Organisers ensure athletes are prepared, on and off field

    KITTIPONG THONGSOMBAT and AP

    About 20,000 condoms have been made available to athletes taking part in the World University Games, according to the 2007 Universiade organisers. They say this is another way of ensuring that the sporting event is a success.

    Santiparb Tejavanija, deputy chairman of the facilities and athletes' services committee of the 2007 Universiade, said providing condoms at the athletes' village did not mean organisers were supporting sexual activities.
    ''It is a service to make sure that condoms are available when the athletes need them.
    ''All international sports events have them for athletes,'' Mr Santiparb said.
    ''It is likely that athletes will fall in love".

    ''It is not a shame if they want to protect themselves,'' he added.

    It is regarded as one of the measures of determining how good the organisation of a sporting event is, Mr Santiparb said.

    Public health officials said if 20,000 condoms was not enough more would be supplied.

    ''This is not supporting sex, because we never think that the athletes will have sex in the sports village,'' said health official Thawat Suntarajan.

    ''But we have to accept the truth, that some people want to have fun at the places offering sexual services.''

    Between 9,000 and 10,000 athletes and officials are in Bangkok for the games, which end on August 18.

    Although condoms will be available, liquor is not allowed in the athletes' village in Thammasat University's Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani.

    Most universities in Bangkok have closed their campuses to clear the areas for the games.

    Meanwhile, officials in Samoa have imported 50,000 condoms in readiness for the South Pacific Games which will be held from Aug 25 to Sept 8.

    About 5,000 people from 22 countries are expected to attend the games in Samoa's capital, Apia.

    Samoa's Safe Games Committee says the organisation has imported the condoms to ensure there are no shortages during the event.

    ''Condom use is much more likely when people can access them at no cost, and this is the intention of the Safe Games Committee,'' the group's secretary Neli Wightman said.

    Bangkok Post

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    UNIVERSITY GAMES / EMPTY SEATS
    Calling on all students to fill up sports stadiums

    KITTIPONG THONGSOMBAT

    Students are needed to fill empty stadiums at the University Games and prepare for the 2010 Youth Olympics, said Tourism and Sports deputy minister Nat Intrapana. The 2007 Universiade has been running smoothly for two days, but still lacks spectators. At some event, only the athletes, volunteers, participants and security guards are present.

    Mr Nat said overall the event was satisfactory, but unfortunately the fans did not show up as expected. More students should have a chance to watch the games, he said.

    The organising committee should ask the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority to provide free bus services for sports fans from the Victory Monument to Thammasat University's Rangsit Centre.

    Thai students should be more interested in the games, especially now the International Olympics Committee is organising the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010, Mr Nat said.

    Sumet Yamnoon, executive director of the executive office of the 2007 Universiade, said that during yesterday's meeting, the chiefs of the athletes' delegation had praised Thailand for organising the games within a limited time of about nine months.

    ''Many countries gave us a thumbs up for hosting such a big event with limited time for preparation,'' he said. However, Mr Sumet felt disappointed by the small turnout of fans for the event.

    ''I am concerned that there are so few supporters in the stadiums. Moreover, people have not had the chance to watch the games on TV, especially their favourite sports. We are now improving all the time,'' he said.

    Thammasat Klongluang school deputy director Pornchai Kuyyakhont, who yesterday took 700 of his grade eight students to watch badminton, said this big sporting event should have been given more support from fans.

    ''I feel sorry for the fans not watching this event. Maybe the public relations did not work,'' he said.

    Bangkok Post

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    A memorable Universiade for hosts

    A memorable Universiade for hosts


    After 11 days of tough competition and wild cheering, Thailand yesterday celebrated its best-ever Universiade result with a remarkable 13 gold, seven silver and nine bronze medals to rank sixth among the 159 countries that took part in the 24th instalment of the world university games from August 8-18 in Bangkok.

    China topped the medals tally at the international multi-sport and cultural festival that is second in importance only to the Olympic Games, with 32 golds in an overall haul of 87 medals.

    It was sweet revenge for China after losing the crown to Russia in the previous Universiade in Izmir, Turkey, two years ago.

    China had taken the overall title both on home soil in Beijing in 2001 and in the 2003 Universiade in Daegu, South Korea.

    Russia yesterday overtook the Ukraine to move into second place in the medal standings, thanks largely to divers Konsantin Khanbekov and Oleg Vikulov, who handed their country the last gold medal on offer in the men's synchronised 10-metre platform event.

    Russia finished with a haul of 28 gold, 27 silver and 29 bronze medals. In third place with seven fewer silvers was the Ukraine (28-20-18), followed by Japan (19-15 22) and South Korea (15-18-18) in fourth and fifth place respectively.

    Sixty-seven countries won medals at this Universiade, while athletes from 92 nations will be going home empty-handed but with good memories and new friends.

    Of the six medals up for grabs on the final day, China bagged two and Mexico and Russia one apiece in the diving competition, while Lithuania took the men's basketball crown and Turkey retained their men's volleyball crown.

    Enjoying a home-crowd advantage, 389 Thai athletes pitted their skills against more than 10,000 overseas athletes vying for 236 golds in 15 sporting disciplines.

    The Thai contingent had finished a distant 31st in Izmir, winning three medals in taekwondo, including the unprecedented gold from Patiwat Thongsalap.

    This time, the home team had set a target of winning 10 gold medals but ended up with the lucky number 13, well beyond everyone's expectations.

    With a Bt1-million cash incentive promised to each gold medallist, Bt500,000 to silver medallists and Bt200,000 to the bronze medallists, the National Sports Development Fund is expected to pay out more than Bt50 million.

    The sports associations to which the athletes belong, as well as their coaches, will also receive cash incentives from the fund.

    Of the 13 gold medals won by the host nation's athletes, the three taekwondo golds won by Patiwat Thongsalap (men's under-72kg), Chutchawal Khawla-or (men's under-54kg) and Mae-num Chirdkiatisak (women's under-47kg) probably created the greatest feelings of pride.

    And with another four silver medals, the Thai taekwondo team - many of them Olympic medallists and world champions - were the cream of the crop. Their success here has served a warning to the taekwondo world that they are among the strongest rivals to be reckoned with, especially at the next year's Beijing Olympics.

    The Kingdom's 10 other golds came from world No 9 and Singapore Open champion Boonsak Ponsana in the men's badminton singles, Sudket Prapakamol and Phattapol Ngernsrisuk in the men's doubles and in the mixed team; Danai Udomchoke in the men's tennis singles and Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana in the men's doubles; promising women's javelin-thrower Buaban Pamang with a personal best of 61.4 metres; the men's 4x100m relay quartet; deadeye Janejira Srisongkram in the women's double trap; the women's 50-metre rifle prone team; and the men's golf team.

    All good things always come to an end, but at the end of the 24th Universiade, Thailand received a big thumbs up from George E Killian, president of the International University Sports Federation, for its excellent preparation and a well-organised Universiade.

    Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, will host the 25th Universiade from July 1-12, 2009, featuring a total of 21 sporting events.

    Preechachan Wiriyanupappong
    The Nation

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