SPORTS celebrities were out in force at polling stations on Sunday to exercise their democratic rights in the election.
Among them were badminton ace Ratchanok Intanon, football star Teerasil Dangda, women’s taekwondo world champion Panipak Wongpattanakit, volleyball star Pluemjit Thinkhaow, Thailand women’s football team manager Nualphan Lamsam, Football Association president Somyot Poompanmuang, and Sports Authority of Thailand governor Gongsak Yodmanee.
Former police chief Somyot and his family visited a polling station in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao area ahead of his trip to China to support the national team in their final against Uruguay in a friendly tournament tonight. “Elections are part of democracy,” Somyot noted. “I have come out to use my vote and support democracy.”
Earlier he urged the incoming government to give more support to local football and build facilities so that Thailand could host major international events in the future, perhaps even the Word Cup.
Badminton’s 2013 world champion Ratchanok postponed her flight to India in order to vote at a polling station in Bangkae district.
“As a Thai citizen, I’m proud to show my support for the election. I believe many Thais feel the same,” said the world No 8, who faces three big tournaments – the India Open, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open – in the next three weeks.
Football coach Nualphan, who will lead the team into the Women’s World Cup in France from June 7-July 17, said she was excited to see so many people showing up to exercise their democratic rights at her local polling station in Bangkok’s Khlong Tan.
“I’ve never seen people show such enthusiasm for an election before,” said Nualphan, also president of Port FC.