- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Prem student wins Mercedes Trophy in Rayong
Alonso under pressure to win Ferrari title
Samba! Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics
Prem student wins Mercedes Trophy in Rayong
Traveling south from Chiang Mai to Rayong’s Green Valley Golf
Club, three players from The Prem Golf Academy’s Team Elite made their
debut appearance at the highly-acclaimed national junior golf
competition known as “The Mercedes Trophy” held 26-27 September, 2009.
Thirteen year old Chayutpol (Smart) Kittirattanapaiboon, was the
surprise winner of the Class B2 division to beat over forty other
players from around Thailand in his age group.
(Smart) Kittirattanapaiboon (left) receives the Class B2 division
winner’s award at the Mercedes Trophy golf tournament held in Rayong.
Returning competitors to this tournament took notice of Smart’s steady
play throughout the two-day event where he held the lead on both days.
All players between the ages of thirteen and eighteen were expected to
play from the back tees on Rayong’s naturally hilly and undulating
Besieged with seasonal rainy and windy weather conditions, this already
difficult course was a challenge to be reckoned with for any golfer.
Smart’s short game skills was what proved to be the factor that set him
apart from the other junior golfers during this event where he completed
an impressive 80-78 (158) final score, winning the Class B2 division
trophy by just one stroke.
The Mercedes Trophy will be sponsoring five more two-day events
throughout the year at a number of championship golf courses located in
the Bangkok area. Top qualifiers from these events will compete in The
Masters’ Final which will host international junior golfers from around
the world, with the top Thai finishers in each age category winning a
trip to an international event overseas to be named later.
The Prem Golf Academy’s Team Elite will gain a tremendous amount of
experience and confidence through the rigors of traveling and playing
new golf courses. “Our team knows that fun and learning is the key to
their success,” says Spike Collier, Director of Golf at the Prem Golf
Alonso under pressure
to win Ferrari title
Suzuka, Japan (AP) - New Ferrari
signing Fernando Alonso already feels under
pressure to deliver the Italian team a Formula
Ferrari confirmed last Thursday that Alonso
would leave Renault and join the team for 2010
on a three-year contract. There had been a
previous agreement - made public Thursday - for
him to join in 2011, but he will arrive a year
early, ousting current driver Kimi Raikkonen.
“There will be a pressure to win titles,” Alonso
said from Suzuka, site of last weekend’s
Japanese Grand Prix.
Alonso of Spain has signed a 3-year deal to
drive for Ferrari, beginning in the 2010 F1
season. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
“At Ferrari it is not enough to win one race per
year or anything like that. The pressure will be
there to be champion again. In the next three
years hopefully I can win one at least.”
Alonso will partner Felipe Massa, creating a
potential headache for the team as it seeks to
placate two drivers who will feel they should be
the natural No. 1 within the Maranello outfit.
But Alonso foresees no problem.
“It will work,” Alonso said. “Felipe we know is
a great driver, a quick driver but also a good
personality. He will be absolutely fine.”
Alonso had a fractious relationship with Lewis
Hamilton in their one season together at McLaren
in 2007, when the team did not give preference
to either driver. The Spaniard said he had
learnt from that experience.
“It will not happen again,” Alonso said. “This
is a very different history. I am also more
prepared than I was two years ago. It will be
“Ferrari is more important than any driver in
the car. It doesn’t matter if you are quicker or
slower than your teammate - the Ferrari people
want to see a red car in front of the other
cars, it doesn’t matter which driver is
After announcing the deal, both team and driver
revealed they had agreed in the last off-season
that Alonso would sign with Ferrari for the 2011
season. The Italian team had reached a
settlement with Raikkonen in recent days, so
were able to bring that date forward.
The move, the biggest in the sport since Michael
Schumacher signed with Ferrari in 1996, had the
blessing of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
“It’s good for Fernando, good for Formula One,
good for Ferrari,” Ecclestone said. “It’s
looking good isn’t it. Next year will be a good
Ecclestone also said Massa would be able to hold
his own against Alonso.
“If he handled Kimi, he should be able to handle
Fernando,” Ecclestone said. “They’re the same
type of driver aren’t they. He’ll be alright.”
The Alonso signing was a bold statement by
Ferrari of its intention to return to the
pinnacle of Formula One, having not won the
drivers’ title since Raikkonen in 2007.
“His contribution will be very important to
bring Ferrari back to the level where it has to
be, to fight at the top,” team principal Stefano
“As chairman (Luca di) Montezemolo said
recently, all the great champs want to come to
Maranello sooner or later.”
Alonso will see out the rest of this season with
Renault, where he won both his world titles.
However his spell ends in disharmony after team
principal Flavio Briatore received an indefinite
ban and chief engineer Pat Symonds a five-year
sanction for their role in Nelson Piquet’s
deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand
Renault said that a replacement driver would be
named this week. BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica is
thought to head the list of candidates.
Raikkonen was widely tipped to return to his old
team McLaren to partner Hamilton, with
out-of-contract Heikki Kovalainen to make way.
“We’ll see him in a good car,” Ecclestone said.
“It’d be good to see him in a McLaren wouldn’t
It was a rapid fall from grace for the Finn, who
was Ferrari’s undisputed top driver after
claiming the 2007 title, but was eclipsed by
Massa in 2008.
“I’m sure that (Raikkonen) will remember this
time together with us as one of the most
beautiful times in his career, just like we will
remember him with affection and admiration as a
driver with such extraordinary talent and such
an honest, transparent and loyal man deserves,”
Samba! Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics
after Rio de Janeiro won the nomination to host
the 2016 Olympic Games at the Copacabana beach,
in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Oct. 2.
(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Copenhagen (AP) - The 2016 Games
are going to Rio de Janeiro. Finally, South
America gets an Olympics.
In a vote of high drama, the bustling Brazilian
carnival city of beaches, mountains and samba
beat surprise finalist Madrid, which got a big
helping hand from a very influential friend.
Chicago was knocked out in the first round - in
one of the most shocking defeats ever handed
down by the International Olympic Committee.
President Barack Obama’s last-minute hop to
Denmark didn’t swing the games Chicago’s way. He
came, saw, charmed but did not conquer. Even
Tokyo, which trailed throughout the tight race,
did better - eliminated after Chicago in the
second round. On Rio’s Copacabana beach, where
the city will hold beach volleyball in 2016, the
party was heading into the night. In Chicago,
there was bewildered silence.
Rio spoke to IOC members’ consciences: the city
argued that it was simply unfair that South
America has never hosted the games, while
Europe, Asia and North America have done so
“It is a time to address this imbalance,”
Brazil’s charismatic president, Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva, told the IOC’s members before they
delivered their verdict. “It is time to light
the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country.”
The final result was decisive: Rio beat Madrid
by 66 votes to 32. Chicago got just 18 votes in
the first round, with Tokyo squeezing into the
second round with 22. Madrid was leading after
the first round with 28 votes, while Rio had 26.
In the second round, Tokyo was eliminated with
just 20 votes. Madrid got 29, qualifying it for
the final round face-off with Rio, which by then
already had a strong lead, with 46 votes.
Beating three rich, more developed nations that
had all previously held the games represented a
giant, morale-boosting coup for Brazil, an
emerging nation bounding up the ranks of the
world’s biggest economies but which still has
millions of people living in poverty. Rio is
known as much for its crime-ridden slums as for
its stunning natural beauty.
Silva, a bearded former union leader,
disappeared into a huge group hug with the
joyous Rio team after IOC president Jacques
Rogge announced the city’s name. Football great
Pele had tears in his eyes. Silva wept into a
white handkerchief at a post-victory news
conference. Brazil will now hold the world’s two
biggest sporting events in the space of just two
years: in 2014, it is organizing the World Cup.
The slap to Chicago was such that some IOC
members were left squirming. The Windy City’s
plans for Olympic competition along its stunning
Lake Michigan waterfront had long made it a
front-runner and earned support from the highest
possible level - Obama himself. His wife,
Michelle, flew in two days before the vote to
butter up IOC members, an essential part of the
selection process. And Obama himself flew in
IOC members had seemed wowed, posing for photos
with Mrs. Obama and taking souvenir shots of the
president with their mobile phones. But, in the
vote, Chicago was shunned.
“Either it was tactical voting, or a lot of
people decided not to vote for Chicago whatever
happened,” IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said.
“Nobody knows, but everybody is in a state of
shock. Nobody believes it. I’m very sorry about
Rio’s bid, while high on romance, is not without
risk. Because of Rio’s high crime and murder
rates, security will be a constant issue in
2016. Preparing Rio for the Olympics will cost
billions of dollars - money that critics said
could have been better spent on tackling the
city’s social problems.
But the lure of that untapped frontier proved
too strong for the IOC.
“There was absolutely no flaw in the bid,” said
Added Heiberg: “We have sent out a message that
we want to go global.”
Now, Africa and Antarctica are the only
continents never to have been awarded an
Madrid’s surprising success in reaching the
final round came after former IOC president Juan
Antonio Samaranch made an unusual appeal for the
Spanish capital, reminding the IOC’s members as
he asked for their vote that, at age 89, “I am
very near the end of my time.”
Samaranch ran the IOC for 21 years before Rogge
took over in 2001.
Obama himself only spent a few hours in the
Danish capital and left before the result was
announced. Former IOC member Kai Holm said the
brevity of his appearance may have counted
The short stopover was “too business-like,” Holm
said. “It can be that some IOC members see it as
a lack of respect.”
Senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper
surmised that Asian voters may have banded
together for Tokyo in the first round, at
“I’m shocked,” Gosper said. “The whole thing
doesn’t make sense other than there has been a
stupid bloc vote.”
He worried that the shock exit could do “untold
damage” to the already testy relations between
the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee. They had
recent flare-ups over revenue sharing and a USOC
“To have the president of the United States and
his wife personally appear, then this should
happen in the first round is awful and totally
undeserving,” Gosper said.
Added Dennis Oswald, another member: “It was a
defeat for the USOC, not for Chicago.”
The biggest bloc of voters on the IOC - 46 - are
Europeans. The IOC’s last two experiences in the
United States were bad: the 2002 Salt Lake City
Winter Olympics were sullied by a bribery
scandal and logistical problems and a bombing
hit the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Obama had held out the enticing prospect of a
Chicago games helping to reconnect the United
States with the world after the presidency of
George W. Bush. He told the IOC earlier Friday
that the “full force of the White House” would
be applied so “visitors from all around the
world feel welcome and will come away with a
sense of the incredible diversity of the
Now, Chicago can only rue what might have been.
And Obama’s gamble of expending his own
political capital on the bid failed.
“He didn’t do too much,” French IOC member Guy
He grumbled that the USOC’s financial disputes
with the IOC were still unresolved. And he said
White House security unnerved some IOC members.
“This morning the city was closed because of
Barack Obama,” Drut said.
The last U.S. city to bid for the Summer Games,
New York, did scarcely better. It was ousted in
the second round in the 2005 vote that gave the
2012 Games to London.
Tokyo did better than many expected by reaching
the second round. It had offered reassurances of
financial security, with $4 billion already
banked for the games. But the fact that the
Olympics were held only last year in Asia, in
Beijing, handicapped the Japanese capital’s bid.
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