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King’s Cup Takraw kicks off in Chiang Mai

Tour de France: an eyewitness account

‘Lanna Tigers’ secure 2 -0 win at Kamphaeng Phet

King’s Cup Takraw kicks off in Chiang Mai

The Thai athletes join the procession of teams at the opening of the 25th King’s Cup Takraw competition at the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium gymnasium, Tuesday, July 27.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew

The grand opening of the 25th Kings Cup Takraw Championship took place on Tuesday, July 27 at the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium gymnasium complex to set this week long Asian sports tournament underway in traditional and colorful Lanna style.

Thailand take on Myanmar in the opening Takraw doubles fixture.

Amidst much fanfare and pageantry, Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant, accompanied by Maj Gen Jaruek Areeratchakarun, the president of the Trakraw Association of Thailand, completed the formalities and welcomed the international array of athletes to the event.

The spectators were then treated to an exciting opening game between Thailand and Myanmar which the former team of Rewat Parbchompoo and Phuritch Paensila edged by two sets to nil (25-24, 21-11). The Thai duo then went on to achieve a similar two set victory over a Philippine pairing (21-10, 21-19) to virtually cement their place in the second round.

Following the men’s 2-man teams was the women’s net/basket competition with the home nation once again proving to be untouchable in the discipline and taking the gold medal on 1,250 points ahead of Chinese Taipei in second and Iran in third.

The 6 day tournament was due to finish this past Sunday, August 1, and an updated review of all the action and results will appear in next week’s Chiang Mai Mail.

Tour de France: an eyewitness account

Story and Photos by Micaela Hobbs

As it has done for the last 35 years, the final stage of the Tour de France 2010 played out on one of the most famous and impressive boulevards in the world - the Champs Élysées. And this year’s finish was as exciting as the previous three weeks racing had been, with hordes of spectators lining the streets of Paris to witness this amazing spectacle.

The peleton heads up the famous Champs Élysées towards the finish line.

With a frenzied sprint to the finish line, to secure not only the stage win but to contend the wearer of the green jersey, I, like many others, found myself holding my breath, heart pounding, clinging to a tree with feet balanced precariously on the metal barriers to get the best view for my photo shots, and willing the British sprinter, Mark Cavendish, to execute his now famous sprint to cross the finish line first.

Witnessing Mark’s victories is like witnessing magic. He is tucked in among the peleton (main group of riders) not really visible to the untrained eye, until seconds before the finish when he bursts out from the bunch like a missile and flies across the line several bike lengths ahead of the other contenders. He appears unstoppable, and unstoppable he was on Sunday, July 25, securing his fifth stage win in this year’s tour and his second last stage Tour victory on the Champs Elysees. He did not, however, manage to win the green jersey from Alessandro Petacchi of Italy for best overall sprinter, although there is little doubt that he will be the proud wearer of it before too long!

Lance Armstrong, left, bowed out after this year’s Tour having won the event a record seven times during his career.

The winner of this year’s tour had been decided in the final mountain stage in the Pyrenees a few days before, so as there were no crashes or technical problems on the last day Alberto Contador crossed the line on the Champs Elysees holding up two fingers and his thumbs to signify his three Tour victories over the last few years. His battle for first place over the last few weeks with the young Andy Schleck won off with Andy coming in second overall and also winning, for the third time, the white jersey for best young rider under 25 yrs of age.

Lance Armstrong’s team, Radio Shack, won the best team prize and left Lance retiring from the Tour (for the second time ) and facing new allegations for previous doping irregularities. His final day of the Tour was also full of controversy as the Radio Shack team held up the last stage into Paris by 15 minutes as they attempted to wear unofficial jerseys advertising Lance’s charity Livestrong and expressing their support for millions of cancer sufferers in the world.

Although this was not to be Lance’s Tour, there is no doubt Lance is an amazing athlete and I felt privileged to witness his last tour and to brush shoulders with him while mingling with the riders after the finish. Wearing the Livestrong t-shirt and with my privileged invitation into the riders enclosure, I managed to capture photos of some of these athletes and enjoyed checking out and drooling over their amazing bikes - the Bugattis and Ferraris of the biking world! A once in a life time experience for me.

This year’s Tour will go down as one of the most dangerous in recent history, with many early accidents and nearly half the field crashing in Stage 2 when the roads were covered with oil. The race also included long sections of cobblestones, which added to the peril.

As a partner in Crouching Tiger Cycling Tours, based in Chiang Mai, I have been in France for the last two weeks marketing our road cycling tours, but also lucky enough to follow various stages of the Tour de France, both in the Pyrenees and also on the Champs Elysees last Sunday. The excitement of the final stage of this year’s Tour was intensified by an invitation from Nissan, a major sponsor of Lance Armstrong’s Radio Shack team, to join the Team’s prerace champagne celebrations, and to witness, for one last time, the infamous Lance Armstrong from the privileged vantage point of the Radio Shack stand at the finish line. And what a view!

Witnessing the cyclists from close up and mixing with everyone from the cycling world was a huge experience. These are the most awesome athletes and whatever their final position, they all deserve enormous respect.

Spain’s Alberto Contador celebrates winning
his third Tour de France in Paris, Sunday, July 25.

‘Lanna Tigers’ secure 2 -0 win at Kamphaeng Phet

Staff reporters

Chiang Mai ‘Lanna Tigers’ extended their winning streak since the start of the second half of the season to seven matches with a comfortable 2-0 away win at Kamphaeng Phet on Sunday, July 25. The win enabled the league leaders to maintain their four point cushion over nearest rivals Chainart FC, with the two clubs almost certain to now contest the title between them.

The visitors were able to recall full back Sakireen Tikasom to their starting line-up following his spell out through suspension and Jakkrapong Sanluang replaced the injured Yao at centre-half.

Chiang Mai started the game the better of the two sides and Anucha was guilty of missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring as early as the 5th minute.

The overnight rain had unfortunately left the playing field in less than ideal condition however and both teams struggled to control the ball on the wet and greasy surface.

The ‘Tigers’ did manage to carve out some further chances in the first half but they were unable to provide the killer touch and when they did get the ball in their opponent’s net, Sridej saw his effort ruled out for offside.

The half time whistle went with the game still in the balance at nil all.

Chiang Mai seemed to come out after the break in more determined mood and some great work by Wasuwat and Anucha gifted an early chance to Sridej but his shot flew just wide of the goal.

With the ‘Tigers’ finding it difficult to break down the stubborn Kamphaeng Phet defence it looked like the game might be heading for a draw but, like so many times this season, Chiang Mai managed to pull something out of the hat right at the death.

With just 10 minutes left of normal time, substitute Vincent Jibkang put the ‘Tigers’ in front after the ball had fallen to him kindly from a cross by Chanatpol Sikamontol. He calmly strode forward through a crowd of defenders to stroke the ball home.

It seemed like the one goal would be enough to secure all three points for the visitors but they made doubly sure in the 89th minute when a free kick by Chanatpol was fumbled into his own net by the Kamphaeng Phet goalkeeper Ronapume Pomak.

It was a tough break for the hosts but Chiang Mai were the worthy winners having had most of the possession and created the best chances in the game.

The win left Chiang Mai still on top of the league standings with 58 points. Nearest rivals Chainart have 54 following their 1-0 win at Chiang Rai while third placed Pichit surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to Phitsanulok.

Chiang Mai were due to play a home game against Nakhon Sawan this past weekend and will make an away trip to Phitsanulok FC this coming Saturday, kick off scheduled for 6 p.m.

Thai League Div. 2 Northern Region
Standings July 25

Team                              P      W     D       L      +/-      Pts.

Chiang Mai                   22     19     1       2     +37      58

Chainat                         22     17     3       2     +34      54

Phichit                            22     14     3       5     +34      45

Singburi                         21     11     5       5     +10      38

Phrae United                 22      9     10      3     +11      37

Nakhon Sawan            22     10     6       6     +13      36

Phitsanulok                   22     10     5       7      +8       35

Sukhothai                     22      9      4       9       “3       31

Phetchabun                  20      7      6       7      +7       27

Uttaradit Morseng       22      8      2      12      -6        26

Chiang Rai                    22      6      3      13     -16       21

Kamphaeng Phet         22      5      5      12    “20      20

Lampang                      21      5      4      12      -9        19

Uthai Thani Forest      22      4      3      15    “28      15

Phayao                          22      4      2      16    “36      14

Tak                                 22      3      4      15    “36      13

Results (24 & 25 July): Uthai Thani Forest 5-1 Phayao,
Chiang Rai 0-1 Chainat, Phichit 0-1 Phitsanulok,
Lampang 2-3 Uttaradit Morseng, Sukhothai 2-0 Tak,
Phrae United 2-1 Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet 0-2 Chiang Mai.