Medallists and officials at the 32nd Thailand National Youth Games

Chiang Mai’s cricketers were figuratively ‘over the moon’ as they won both the men’s and women’s events at Chanthaburi in the latest edition of Thailand’s National Youth Games. The annual event features the country’s best U-19 athletes across 40 disciplines and participation, let alone success, is quite a fillip to a young person’s career.

Cricket’s progress in Thailand, outside of Bangkok, has reached far and wide. 21 of the 76 provinces in the country now play organised cricket, since cricket started on its development path in 2001. Chiang Mai in the north was revitalised initially and once established, children and parents took note. “Cricket offers them something new, something wholesome, a sport where you never feel alone, in an environment where you’re looked after,” says ACC Development Officer for Thailand Venkatapathi Raju. “Hill tribe children have been the outstanding young players at the National Junior Championships as Chiang Mai developed as the strongest provincial team and Lamphun have now emerged as their main rivals,” says Cricket Association of Thailand Chief Executive Mohideen Kader. “The older boys have had the chance to coach the younger players and have the opportunity to take coaching courses to improve their skills. The Thailand's women team has enjoyed some outstanding success over the last few years and some of the younger players, Anna, Min and Amee, come from hill tribe backgrounds,” he adds.

Winning captains Jenjira Mayoe and Kittanu Saekue

It still astonishes, to hear how far cricket has travelled. Chanthaburi, in the east of Thailand, is just 20 kilometres from Cambodia and 14 Thai provinces put up teams for the men’s and women’s groups at these National Youth Games. Soi Dao and Pathong schools provided the grounds. For the first time in the six years that cricket’s been at the Games, the matches were Twenty20s. Chiang Mai, after losing out last year, stormed back with golds in both groups, both times beating Lamphun, with Pattani a very creditable third among the women.

Thailand Cricket Profile
Cricket Association of Thailand

Filed March 30th, 2015