Vol. VIII No. 20 - Tuesday
May 19 - May 25, 2009

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

1st Youth World Weightlifting Championships come to town

Thai racer follows in famous father’s footsteps

1st Youth World Weightlifting Championships come to town

Chiang Mai Governor, Amornphan Nimanant (pink shirt) talks to the media at a press conference to announce the 1st Youth World Weightlifting Championships, which will be contested in Chiang Mai from May 19-24.

CMM reporters
Thanks to the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Federation (TAWA), another world-class weightlifting event, the 1st Youth World Weightlifting Championships, are about to begin at the 700 Year Stadium here in Chiang Mai.
Scheduled to run from May 19 to May 24, the championship event will complete the international weightlifting calendar with a world-scale challenge for young weightlifters aged between thirteen and seventeen years. Besides being a significant championship in its own right, the event is also the main qualification opportunity for the competitors to win participation in the 1st Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore in 2010. The championship is being sponsored by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, (EGAT).
Over 600 competitors from all over the world, plus support staff and visitors have arrived in Chiang Mai for the competition; all will have been screened on arrival for symptoms of swine flu. Competitors from affected countries such as Mexico, US, Canada, Spain, and United Kingdom are being kept under surveillance.
The Chiang Mai Governor, Amornphan Nimanant, welcomed the championship, saying that Thailand is honoured to be selected by the International Weightlifting Federation to host the event. He welcomed all the contestants and wished them good luck, adding that he hoped they would have a pleasant stay in Chiang Mai.
The opening ceremony, to be held on May 19, will be presided over by Privy Councillor, Palakorn Suwannarat, and include Lanna performances. The ceremony, and sections of the competitions themselves, will be broadcast in Thailand and across the world on both radio and TV.

Thai racer follows in famous father’s footsteps

Deva Biker
Over the past few years the premier level of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, consisting of the 125cc World Championship, 250cc World Championship and MotoGP events, has become a major force in the world of motorsport. The racing recently at the Gran Premio De Espana in Jerez, Spain was testament to this, with nearly 130,000 people attending and TV coverage the world over. With exciting performances from the likes of Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in MotoGP, this comes as no surprise.

Ratthapark (Feem) Wilairot.

Competing in the 250cc class is Ratthapark Wilairot from Chonburi, better known to his friends as Feem. As a Thai national, he has created history by being the first rider from SE Asia to compete regularly at this level. Twenty one years old last month, he has already been riding for the Thai Honda PTT-SAG team since 2007. He competed in the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix as a wild-card entry and finished a respectable 10th after qualifying in 14th place. In 2006 he was runner-up in the challenging Japanese National Championship.
Ratthapark is the eldest son of the Thai veteran racer Christmas Wilairot, who began junior road racing at the tender age of five and first won a 50cc motocross trophy at the age of ten. His younger brother Ratthapong Wilairot is looking to follow in his footsteps in motorcycle racing.
The faith shown in him by the Thai-Spanish team Thai Honda PTT-SAG has been rewarded by ever improving performances. In 2007 he finished 17th with a further improvement in 2008 where he finished in 13th place overall.
Looking for a position in the top 10 this year he started well at the Grand Prix of Qatar. With a starting position on the grid in 12th place he steadily moved up to 4th position but problems with his rear tyre resulted in a highly respectable 8th position finish under floodlights. Unfortunately, a crash near the end of the Japanese Grand Prix robbed him of a 5th place finish.
Carrying an injury into the Gran Premio De Espana in Jerez, he could only manage 14th, but Feem would have been hoping to return to his early season form at the Grande Prix de France at Le Mans which took place on Sunday. There is also a chance to see him race live at the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit on October 25 this year.
Despite the disappointments this season, Ratthapark Wilairot is a talented rider and there is no doubt we will see a lot more of him as he continues to improve at this level. It is a surprise that more riders have not broken through from SE Asia when you consider the sales of motorcycles across the region. Let’s hope Feem can continue to lead by example and help to bring through more talent from Thailand and the other countries in the region.

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