International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach says he expects Thailand to enjoy greater success at the 2020 Olympics after watching the Kingdom’s athletes training at the Sports Science Centre on Monday.
The IOC chief is in town to attend the ongoing SportAccord Summit due from 15-20 in the capital. He stopped by to observe the practice and chat with competitors from many sports, including athletics, badminton, volleyball, weightlifting, taekwondo, karate, women’s boxing and futsal.) at the Sports Authority of Thailand.
“I’m happy to meet and talk with the Thai athletes as they are training for upcoming events like the Asian Games, Youth Olympics and the Olympics in 2020,” said the German, who also gave Thai athletes IOC pins as souvenirs.
“As Thailand has been on the rise in their sports performance, we will see Thai athletes become more successful in the next Olympics,” added Bach, the former Olympic fencer who also played badminton, volleyball and futsal with the athletes.
Thailand won two weightlifting gold medals, two silvers from weightlifting and taekwando, plus two bronzes from those two sports at Rio 2016.
Bach also announced afterwards that Thailand had become the first country to apply to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2026.
“This proves that Thailand is committed to the Olympic movement,” the IOC president said.
“Thailand still have plenty of time to plan for the bid and observe when we choose the 2022 host at a meeting in Buenos Aires in October.”
Asked about the possibility of favourite Thai sports sepak takraw and Thai boxing one day being included in the Olympics, Bach said it was not easy as Olympic sports needed to be universally popular and many disciplines had already been included in the competition.
Bach did, however, praise Thai badminton chief Kunying Patama Leesawadtrakul for the role she had played in raising badminton in Thailand to a world-class level and for becoming the country's first female member of the IOC.