PM urges Thais to show respect

Prayut also calls on fans to behave in KL

Thailand's SEA Games athletes take a selfie outside Government House yesterday. Chanat Katanyu Chanat Katanyu

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha gave his moral support to Thailand's SEA Games athletes as they met at Government House yesterday.

The athletes were led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in his capacity as president of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand.

"The government is ready to support the Thai athletes at the SEA Games, which is an important stage for athletes to demonstrate their skills,'' Gen Prayut told the visiting delegation.

"I'd like to give you moral support. You should do your best and respect the rules. Don't fight with the referees, and show respect to spectators."

He also said Thai fans should not cause trouble after their athletes have lost.

"In the past, our athletes lost but the [Thai] spectators did not [accept the result]. You cannot say that you do this because you love the country," he said.

He vowed the government would continue to support sporting activities and said concerned parties should have plans to create athletes for the future.

"I think there are a lot of Thais who can be national team players, particularly those who are big and tall. These people will have an advantage in sports. However, a lot of them are doing other things."

Thailand is sending 820 athletes and 353 officials to take part in the Aug 19-30 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

There are 404 gold medals up for grabs in 38 events at the 29th SEA Games.

SHUTTLERS TARGET GOLDS

The Thai badminton team aim to win at least two gold medals at the SEA Games in Malaysia.

"Our players are ready for the tournament. We want to win at least two gold medals for the Thai people,'' team manager Wisanu Prasartthongosot said yesterday.

Thailand won two gold medals in the women's singles (Busanan Ongbamrungphan) and women's team at the previous Games in 2015 and Wisanu hopes the squad at least retain the two titles in Kuala Lumpur.

He added that in-form mixed doubles pair Sapsiree Taerattanachai and Dechapol Puavaranukroh could also win gold.

"We are ready physically and mentally," Busanan said. "I am well-prepared to defend the women's singles title. We will do our best to win gold medals."

Nitchaon Jindapol, another female shuttler who will compete in the team event, said she was confident the team would successfully defend the title.

"We are afraid of no-one in Asean," said Nitchaon.

The Thai badminton team will be without their top players Ratchanok Intanon and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk who will take part at the world championships in Scotland.

Indonesia and Malaysia are strong in badminton but their best players will go to Scotland instead.

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