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Will Paradorn do a Moya?

Over the past week comments levelled at millionaire Paradorn Srichaphan, who donated Bt10,000 for victims of the December 26 tsunami, totally eclipsed what he had been doing on court during his most recent tennis tournament in Chennai. The Thai star was looking to reach the final for the fourth consecutive year, but what has captured the attention of most people has been the volley of attacks by the media and fans in chat rooms against him and his family for being “extremely economical in their generosity”.

The contribution appears insignificant when you compare it with Paradorn’s luxurious lifestyle, which includes ownership of a Mercedes and Ferrari, both of which are worth Bt10 million-plus, and the US$583,077 (Bt22.77 million) prize money he amassed in 2004 alone. His counterpart in the women’s game, Tamarine Tanasugarn, who earned a paltry $174,283, donated Bt100,000.

Things couldn’t have got worse after his dad, Chanachai, spoke out and caused a stir by saying that the donation was sufficient in terms of his family’s status.

As a result, his popularity has plummeted. Neither Channel 7, Channel 3 nor UBC bothered to beam coverage of any of his matches – not even the final. Two or three years ago they would have fought toe-to-toe for the broadcast rights.

The Thai lost the Chennai final to the defending champion Carlos Moya, who promptly donated his entire $52,000 winnings to the Tsunami survivors. The question is, would the Thai star have done the same if he had won the match?

– The Nation.

Udomporn proves everyone wrong

Kids were on the lookout for their Olympic heroine Udomporn Polsak on Children’s Day last Saturday, but alas they only saw her team-mates Pawina Thongsuk, Aree Wiratthaworn and Wandee Kameaim. So the question is, where was Udomporn?

Recent rumours have it that Udomporn, better known as Nong Orn, who became the first female Thai athlete to win gold at the Olympic Games, has decided to call time on her career and left the national squad, therefore reducing Thailand’s chances of retaining the women’s 53kg weightlifting gold in Beijing four years from now.

All those who turned up at Children’s Day festivities at the Zone 3 Public Relations Office in Chiang Mai had the same idea. They thought that Udomporn didn’t show because she’d already quit the weightlifting squad and that she felt it was unnecessary to appear with her team-mates as she has done in the past few months.

However, Udomporn proved everyone wrong. On Sunday, she was one of the guests of honour at the ongoing University Games at the Suranaree University of Technology in her hometown Nakhon Ratchasima. For all of you who missed it, she was the one who lit the cauldron flame before the Games began.

– The Nation.

Spooky feeling

The late national women’s soccer team goalkeeper Nongkran Petchpoonsap, who was killed in the recent tsunami, may already be up there in heaven. However, team-mate Niparat Sriwasao has the strange feeling that the former goalie could still be around.

After attending the funeral, Niparat was too tired to go home and spent the night at the home of one of Nongkran’s relatives where a funeral rite was performed.

Having secured the bedroom door’s lock she lay on the bed and began to doze. However Niparat was immediately alert and was startled to see the door – the one she is convinced she locked – slowly opening. Further alarm and a state of shock followed when she discovered no one was at the door. Unable to find a rational explanation for the incident, the frightened and weary Niparat couldn’t close her eyes for the rest of the night, and was praying for morning to come.

The next day, she related her supernatural experience to other team members, who believed she had definitely been spooked. – The Nation.

Grabbing the chance

In many local tournaments, athletes, officials and honoured guests rarely pay heed to their ID cards and sometimes feel uncomfortable when they have to wear them around their necks for the duration of the competition. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case in the ongoing University Games. The Mall Department Store in Nakhon Ratchasima province, which is sponsoring the Suranaree Games, has had the bright idea to offer a sweetener to those who wear their card, namely discounts in various shops.

The first to take advantage of the offer was nobody else but Olympic gold medallist Udomporn Polsak, who didn’t hesitate in reaping the benefits. As soon as she found out about the offer, Udomporn headed straight to The Mall. She started the day with a big lunch at the Sizzler restaurant before ending a subsequent shopping spree with many beautiful dresses in her bags. – The Nation.

Published on January 12, 2005

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