KHUNYING PATAMA ELECTED TO IOC

FIRST THAI WOMAN ON IOC VOWS SHE WILL RE­WARD LO­CAL SPORT

The Nation - - FRONT PAGE - LERPONG AMSA-NGIAM

KHUNYING Patama Leeswad­trakul has be­come the first Thai fe­male to be elected on to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC).

The Bad­minton As­so­ci­a­tion of Thai­land (BAT) pres­i­dent, Patama was one of three women cho­sen in the cat­e­gory of In­di­vid­ual Mem­bers by over 200 IOC rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Lima, Peru, yes­ter­day (Thai­land time). A to­tal of eight mem­bers were elected.

Patama is the fourth Thai af­ter Gen Pra­pas Charusathien (1971- 1974), Thawee Ju­lasap (1974-1989) and Nat In­dra­pana (1990- March 2018) to be elected on to the IOC.

“It’s a great hon­our for my­self and my fam­ily to be given this op­por­tu­nity. Thank you IOC pres­i­dent Thomas Bach and Princess Royal Anne for their trust in me,” the 52-year-old Patama said dur­ing her ac­cep­tance speech.

“This op­por­tu­nity will serve as a thrust for me to per­form my du­ties at max­i­mum ef­fort,” Patama said.

“I will co­op­er­ate with other or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­sure the great­est ben­e­fit to Thai sports and make use of sports and the value of Olympics to de­velop the qual­ity of life for chil­dren through work ethics and free from both po­lit­i­cal and commercial in­flu­ence.”

Patama, who runs ho­tel and steel busi­nesses, has been the elected BAT pres­i­dent since 2013.

Un­der her su­per­vi­sion, Thai bad­minton is en­joy­ing a golden era dur­ing which sev­eral play­ers have made their mark in the sport.

That in­cludes Ratchanok In­tanon, who won the 2013 World Cham­pi­onships ti­tle and set a record of three straight Su­per Se­ries wins last year.

The cur­rent na­tional team also made his­tory by win­ning Thai­land’s big­gest share – four gold medals – at the SEA Games in Malaysia last month.

“It does not mat­ter which coun­try you are from, what re­li­gion you be­lieve in or what gen­der you are. It is all about abil­ity and com­mit­ment,” Patama added.

Patama’s IOC re­spon­si­bil­i­ties will be no­ti­fied dur­ing the next IOC gath­er­ing, dur­ing the Win­ter Olympics in Py­ongyang, in Fe­bru­ary.

The other two fe­male IOC mem­bers elected were Bak­lai Te­mengil from Mi­crone­sia and Kristin Kloster Aasen of Nor­way. Luis Me­jia Oviedo of the Do­mini­can Repub­lic was the other suc­cess­ful can­di­date in the In­di­vid­ual Mem­ber cat­e­gory.

American Anita DeFrantz, who joined the IOC in 1985, was elected as an IOC Vice-Pres­i­dent.

She al­ready oc­cu­pied this po­si­tion from 1997 to 2001.

IOC mem­bers Robin Mitchell (Fiji), Ni­cole Ho­ev­ertsz (Aruba) and De­nis Oswald (Switzer­land) were cho­sen to serve on the IOC Ex­ec­u­tive Board for fur­ther four-year terms.

Khunying Patama Leeswad­trakul of­fers her thanks af­ter be­ing elected to the IOC in Lima.

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