PRINCESS SIRIVANNAVARI will ride her favourite horse Princess Charming for one last time before its retirement after the SEA Games in Malaysia next month, according to national dressage team manager Vithai Laithomya.
The Princess, who has been training in France, accepted the invitation from the Thailand Equestrian Federation to represent the Kingdom in the regional competition. It will be the second Games appearance for Her Royal Highness, who made her debut in the 2013 edition in Myanmar.
“Her Royal Highness wishes to have one last memory with the horse, which is now 17 years old. It would be its farewell tournament,” said Vithai at a press conference yesterday at the Rajamangala National Stadium. Vithai said the Princess has plans to participate in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and will seek to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 but with a different horse.
“The appearance of Her Royal Highness will serve as a major boost for not only the equestrian team but the entire Thai delegation at the Games,” said Vithai. As well as the dressage, the SEA Games also feature show jumping and endurance. The Thai Equestrian Federation hopes to win two gold medals from the dressage and show jumping individual categories.
Meanwhile, Athletic Association of Thailand head coach Ekkawit Sawaengpol predicted the country would win 14 gold medals in track and field thanks to strong Thai challenges in decathlon, heptathlon, the women’s marathon, men’s and women’s 4x100 relay, men’s 4x400 relay, men’s 200m, men’s 110m hurdle and men’s discus.
National tennis coach Vittaya Samrej said he expects three gold medals from women’s player Luksika Kumkhum, men’s doubles pairing Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana and the team.