Athletes depart with doping warning
Olympians told to be careful with pills, supplementsA contingent of Thai athletes and support staff left last night for two weeks' intensive training in Manchester as part of final preparations for the London Games.
The five Thai athletes - three boxers, one judo exponent and an archer - plus team officials, psychologists and physiotherapists became the second Thai Olympic group to depart for London. They followed windsurfers Ek Boonsawat and Napalai Thansai, who left on July 10 to acclimatise to wind and sea conditions at the competition venue at Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay, in Dorset, southern England.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) is spending Bt2.4 million for Thai athletes to train in Manchester for 15 days. However, further expenses will be borne by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT). The financial aid is in line with the Locog's policy to help foreign athletes adjust themselves to the London weather conditions and sharpen their skills ahead of the competition in the Games scheduled for July 27-August 12. Ten other countries have also been named beneficiaries of the assistance from Locog.
The Thai delegation that left last night will arrive in London at 7am today before travelling by bus to Manchester, where they will stay at the Park Inn Hotel. Thailand's chef-de-mission Thana Chaiprasith says that the three boxers- light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon, flyweight Chatchai Butdee and lightweight Sailom Adi - will straightaway begin training in Manchester with twice-daily sessions, 10am to 12pm and 5 to 7.30pm.
The George Carnell Centre will be the training gym for judoka Teerawat Homklin's 11am to 1pm daily session, while archer Witthaya Thamwong will train at the Ford Sports and Social Club from 10am to 12pm.
Meanwhile, the SAT has issued a warning to all Thai athletes to be careful about their intake of supplements and medicines. Athletes have been told to keep the SAT officials in the loop about their whereabouts, and any medicines and supplements they take. Doping controls during the London Games will feature random testing for athletes.
The Thai Olympic delegation has scheduled two of its own dope tests for athletes, during training and just before departure for the Games.
The SAT has also urged the Thai athletes to carry three items at all times during their stay in the United Kingdom - their biometric ID card, passport and pre-valid card - which will help them to be identified as Games' athletes.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be a guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the Games on July 27, but sources have confirmed that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will not be there, due to her busy schedule.