Went to the movies today because we were tired of shopping around and much to our surprise we all had to stand before the movie began for the King's anthem!! This is done before every single movie is screened. What a unique experience!
Thailand is a country that has gone through political turmoil for many decades, witnessing frequent changes in political authority. Amidst this political mess, people look up to the current King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as an anchor of stability--he has endured 17 military coups and the change of 26 prime ministers. This unique position is perhaps the main reason why he is so highly revered in Thailand.
In Thailand, Lèse Majesté is a crime for violating the dignity of the royal family past and present, royal development projects and royal institutions.
Went on another cycling workout even though our butts were still sore and 孙教练 joined us this time!!
谢教练 with his favourite trainee “小胖”
Ying Han teaching the Coach 立化拳! Hah!!!
Was our last training at Banthongyord :( Even though it was the most tiring few days of our lives, it was also some of the most fun trainings we have attended. The drills and multiples were fresh and new to us and trainings started with catching and ended with games. The coaches also injected humour to allow us to have fun and to motivate us. As fatigued as we are, these experiences are definitely not something we will forget soon and we will treasure the memories made.
Ooooops what happened to Sandy's ice cream?
Went shopping at Asiatique at night, scenery and atmosphere there was really nice!
After the friendly game, we left the dorm for the first time and got to enjoy the Loy Krathong festival at the riverside :)
Loy Krathong Festival
Loy Krathong falls on the evening of the 12th full moon in the Thai lunar calendar which is usually in November of the Western calendar. Krathong are made from a slice of the banana tree trunk and decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, incense sticks and a candle. A small coin is sometimes added as an offering to the river spirits. The Thais will make a wish and launch the krathong on a river, canal or pond. The festival may have originated from an ancient ritual paying respects to the water spirits.
Yi Peng is a Lanna (Northern Thai) festival that coincides with Loy Krathong. Yi Peng falls on the 2nd full moon of the Lanna lunar calendar. The northern Thais will launch Lanna style sky lanterns into the air to make merit. It makes a magnificent spectacle as thousands of lanterns float in the night sky.
Started off the day with another 2 hour physical session and we had the honour of playing catching and training with women singles world champion Ratchanok Intanon. Her speed and strength was inspiring to watch, leaving many of us starstruck and asking for photos and autographs at the end of the session. The footwork we did required us to move together in sync, exact mirror images of the person opposite us, giving us the feeling that we really were in this together. The toughest part of the physical session was having to do 5 minutes of half squat (as shown in the pictures below) when we were used to doing 1-2 minutes back home. Many of us started singing songs to pass time and ease the pain in our thighs and before we knew it the 5 minutes were over. It was in this moment that we really felt the team spirit :)
"There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do." - Derek Jeter (5 time Major League Baseball World Series champion shortstop)
Photo and autograph sessions with Ratchanok Intanon
Our next two training sessions left us feeling fatigued but happy. As tiring as the trainings were, the coaches did their best to make us laugh when we were training, which made us even more tired. Training with the Banthongyord students was also an eye opening experience as we could really having fun as they tried their best. Their joy could be heard in the noises they made as they went for the shuttles. The coaches even encouraged us to "吵" along with them! :D
Future champion 6 year old Banthongyord student challenging our very own 孙教练!!! (and obviously giving him chance HAHA)
Sean and Danson challenging Jiw. Both convincingly beaten by the up and rising little pocket dynamo!
Match of the Day! Ratchanok vs Oscar 21-16, 21-17
"Champions keep playing until they get it right." - Billie Jean King (International Hall of Fame tennis star & winner of 39 Grand Slam titles)
Started training playing catching as a way to warm us up, though it was tiring, it was also very fun! :) Incorporating the element of fun allowed many of us to enjoy the warm up process and gave us motivation to do our best as we tried to avoid getting caught.
Next, we moved on to an hour of footwork! Footwork required a lot out of us and the coach expected us to move quickly to the far ends of the courts. Many of us got blisters because we were not used to the intensity of the footwork, even though this was just normal training for the Banthongyord students. This really allowed us to understand why the Thai students were so good at such a young age.
After a few hours of rest, we began our afternoon training, sparring with the students from Banthongyord and doing multiples. Even though we were tired from the 2 hour physical session in the morning, we all pushed on. The multiple training sessions really taught us perseverance as we continued to push ourselves even though our bodies were aching.
"Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement." - Matt Biondi (Multiple Olympic gold medallist and world record holder)
Sumptuous dinner to recharge for the evening friendly match!
Photo with the Banthongyord students, future superstars!!! :D The friendly match really made us realise that age is a just a number. Even though many of them were younger than us, their shots had more power and they were faster on court. Their determination to win really shone through and their love and passion for the game could be seen in their eyes as they went for every shuttle. Playing with them was a challenge as we had to think of ways to target their weaknesses and many of us felt inferior in the beginning. However, as the games progressed, we learned to enjoy ourselves and just try our best. The Thai students were really polite and friendly :) Though it was a tiring day, it was a fruitful one as we pushed ourselves to our limits and learned from the students there :)
"The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special." - Eddie Reese (Champion coach of numerous Olympic gold medallists and world record holders, and coach of Joseph Schooling at University of Texas)
Foes on court, friends off court. Sportsmanship・Friendship・Respect
Our star-struck players with their superstar idol! Chaiwan Pattarasuda(Jiw), Badminton Asia U15 Girls Singles and Mixed Doubles Champion!
Excited to depart for Thailand!!! First badminton trip for many of us, looking forward to new experiences as we train in a different setting :)
1 hour bus ride to the school and of course we fell asleep...zzz
Arrived at Banthongyord and the weather is SO HOT!!!!! The temperature doesn't drop below 30 the entire day :( we're not used to it but we will take it in stride :)
Multi-generation bonding with our roommates :D
Lunch at Banthongyord!! Food cooked by the staff there was good! Aroi mak!
First training at Banthongyord :)
3 hours flew past in a blink. The training is a bit different from what we're used to and the coaches really pushed us to our limits. The drills here take longer than they do at home and multiples are done with less repetitions but more sets. We ended off training with a 5v5 game across 2 courts. Coaches here are very friendly!! What really struck us were the young children training here, though we only had a glance at them training. Many of them were younger than us but they looked just as comfortable on court as we do, maybe even more. Looking forward to training and playing with them :) Overall a refreshing first day filled with many new experiences :D
"The principle is competing against yourself. It's about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before"
- Steve Young (One of the most successful quarterback in NFL history)