3 Thai Paralympians Supported by Your Donations!
Thailand is quietly gaining traction at the Paralympic Games with the 2016 team already surpassing the medal count garnered at London 2012 in Rio. But did you know that there a three athletes in the Thai Paralympic Team that have benefitted from your donations?
All three of these Thai Paralympic athletes are graduates of the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities based at the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya. The school not only provides invaluable skills for practical employment but also encourages participation in sport, creating a sense of purpose and boosting self-esteem.
These inspiring young Paralympic athletes challenge traditional perceptions of disability in Thailand, proving that people with disabilities can play a valuable role in society and proudly represent their country on the world stage.
1. Powerlifter and teacher, Narong “Ali” Kasanun
Sport: Powerlifting Men’s-59kg
Profile: Father of one, Narong contracted polio at age two. He graduated from the school’s Electronic Repair Program in 2002. He started competing at international level in 2003 and won a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He’s now an instructor at the Electronic Repair Workshop teaching other students with disabilities.
Narong is a featured athlete in Thailand’s “Bold as One” Campaign. Local clothing manufacturer Gambol has partnered with Thai street artist Rukkit Kuanhawate to create limited edition t-shirts to support the Thai Paralympic Team. All proceeds of shirt sales will go directly to the Paralympic athletes. The goal is to sell 10,000 shirts at 350 Baht each. Over 8,750 have been sold so far.
2. Fulltime wheelchair racer, Pichaya “Best” Kurattanasiri
Sport: Wheelchair Racing: T-52 100m, T-52 400m, T-52 1500m, T-53 800m, T-53 4x400m relay
Profile: Pichaya was born with weak legs and arms. He graduated from the Vocational School Electronic Repair program in 2009. He’s now a professional athlete and trains fulltime with the Thai National Wheelchair Racing Team in Khon Kaen. Pichaya took home a bronze medal in the Men’s 1500m T52 final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
3. Powerlifter and entrepreneur, Arawan “Ay” Bootpo
Sport: Powerlifting Women's–73kg
Profile: Surgery to correct a problem with Arawan’s legs was unsuccessful and she became a wheelchair user as a child. She was encouraged to try powerlifting by one of her teachers at the Vocational School as a way to exercise and gain self-confidence. She excelled at the sport and started competing at international level in 2003.
Arawan graduated from the Information Systems Management Program in 2003. When she is not training she runs her own small business in Bangkok.
We’re thrilled to see these Thai Paralympic athletes excelling in their sports and look forward to seeing future graduates of the Vocational School represent Thailand on the world stage.
Written by Thai Children's Trust