B7 million earmarked for sports complex study

PHUKET CITY: The proposal to build an international-standard sports training complex in Phuket appears to be limping ahead with 7 million baht being earmarked by the Ministry of Sports and Tourism for a feasibility study.

Confirmation that the study is to receive funding was given today by Promchote Traivate, Head of the Phuket Office of Sports and Recreation Development (POSRD).

The plan to build a world-class sports facility, including a shooting range and a stadium, was first proposed in October 1998 – six and a half years ago. That original plan called for the use of 220 rai in Tah Chat Chai, Tambon Mai Khao.

More recently, in October 2003, Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura suggested that 2,000 rai – again in Tah Chat Chai – should be developed into a training facility to encourage “sports tourism” among athletes keen to escape cold climes.

“Who knows?” said Gov Udomsak at the time, “Perhaps one day David Beckham will come to practice soccer in Phuket.”

The Gazette understands that the facilities to be studied would include a soccer pitch, athletics track, and basketball, tennis and badminton courts. The plan also includes provision for an unspecified number of townhouses to be built on the site.

But the latest development in the saga – which rivals the as-yet-undecided siting of the International Conference and Exhibition Center for its slowness in coming to fruition – has not pleased all in Phuket.

Eam Thavornvongwongse, the President of the Phuket Sports Association, told the Gazette that he has proposed a 126-rai plot close to Suan Luang Park in Phuket City.

“It will be a disgraceful monument to Phuket if the sports complex is built in Mai Khao,” he said.

“Mai Khao is mangrove forests and too far away from anywhere [to make it worthwhile]. A sports complex must have easy access to accommodation for the athletes, ideally within 20 kilometers or so.

“It is simply not feasible to site the sports complex in Mai Khao,” he concluded

Responsibility for the feasibility study will fall to the POSRD. No date has yet been set for when the study should be completed.

Phuket News
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