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Phuket Gazette Sports: London does it; EPL nail-biters; Vettel wins

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette Sports: London does it; EPL nail-biters; Vettel wins | The Thaiger
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Big crowds, black ribbons for Boston at London Marathon
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Undaunted by the Boston Marathon bombings, big crowds lined the route of London’s mass road race to cheer on around 36,000 runners, many of whom wore black ribbons to remember the dead and wounded.

Hundreds of extra police were deployed to secure the first race in the World Marathon Majors since two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday killed three people and wounded 176.

“It is a bit different this year because everybody’s aware of what happened in Boston … They’re not going to stop us running,” said Steve Williamson, a three-time competitor in the London Marathon now taking part as a marshall.

“It was incredible, the amount of support, people coming out from everywhere, just cheering the whole way. Unbelievable,” said a breathless Mo Farah, Britain’s 5,000 and 10,000-metre Olympic champion, after running the first half of the course.

Farah ran half the route to prepare for competing next year.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service said it increased the number of officers on the streets to reassure the public and not in response to any specific threat.

The enhanced security did not dampen the party atmosphere, with marathon regulars saying the turnout was bigger than in previous years and a brass band near the starting line jokingly complaining the cheering crowds were drowning out their music.

Before the start of the men’s elite and mass races, official commentator Geoff Wightman led the crowd in a tribute to Boston.

“This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon,” he said over loudspeakers.

“In a few moments a whistle will sound and we will join together in silence to remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness.”

VISIBLE REASSURANCE

The packed ranks of competitors bowed their heads and stood silently for 30 seconds, then clapped and cheered when a second whistle marked the end of the tribute.

Seconds later, the world’s elite runners led off the race. Behind them came thousands of competitors chasing personal goals or raising money for charity, many running in fancy dress.

Unusual outfits included a two-person camel costume, a giant beer bottle, two male brides and Admiral Lord Nelson.

After an unusually long and harsh winter, the weather came through for the London Marathon which unfolded under bright sunshine and a cloudless sky, a bonus for the competitors and for the hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering them on.

The 26-mile course starts in leafy Greenwich, crosses Tower Bridge, snakes through the Canary Wharf business district before going through the heart of London, past Big Ben to Buckingham Palace.

Police with sniffer dogs were out in force and bins had been removed from the length of the course as part of a security boost.

“The enhancement to policing, which will see several hundred additional officers on the streets, is intended to provide visible reassurance to the participants and spectators alike,” the Metropolitan Police said on its website.

There was a 40 percent increase in officers on the street compared with what was planned before the Boston bombings.

The organisers will donate 2 pounds per finisher to The One Fund Boston, set up to raise money for the victims. They estimate around 35,500 people will cross the line, meaning they are likely to raise at least 70,000 pounds.

In the German city of Hamburg, which was staging its own marathon, runners also wore ribbons and held a minute of silence for victims of the Boston bombings.

Suarez puts bite on Chelsea, City collapse at Spurs
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Liverpool’s Luis Suarez sunk his teeth into Chelsea’s top-four hopes with a last-gasp equaliser yesterday but it was his bite on an opponent that overshadowed a day when Tottenham Hotspur virtually ended Manchester City’s Premier League title defence.

Suarez clearly clamped his jaw around the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during the second half of an action-packed Premier League clash but escaped unpunished.

The controversial Uruguayan’s powerful header six minutes into stoppage time then earned his side a 2-2 draw.

It was a bitter blow for Chelsea, especially as Tottenham had earlier closed the gap in the chase for Champions League qualification with a stunning late comeback to beat City 3-1.

Leading 1-0 through Samir Nasri’s early goal with 15 minutes left, City seemed set to prolong the title race for another week at least but three goals in seven minutes late on from Clint Dempsey, Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale left them 13 points behind leaders Manchester United.

Tottenham’s smash and grab raid meant United can seal a record 20th English title if they beat relegation-threatened Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Monday.

While the title race is virtually done and dusted, Tottenham’s win and Chelsea’s draw at Liverpool intensified an intriguing top-four battle that could go to the wire.

Arsenal remained in third spot with 63 points from 34 games, Chelsea have 62 from 33 and Tottenham 61 from 33.

While Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he would need time to view the Suarez incident again and his counterpart, former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez, said he had not seen the bite, the controversial Suarez will again make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Football Association confirmed that it would begin an investigation into the biting incident on Monday and Graeme Souness, Liverpool’s former hardman midfielder now working as a Sky TV pundit, described it as “embarrassing” and said the reputation of the club was being damaged.

“It could make it very difficult for him to stay at Liverpool,” Souness said.

“They have to safeguard the good name of the club.

“Suarez’s track record is not great, this puts him in the last-chance saloon because it’s putting at risk eveything that this clubs stands for.”

Suarez is no stranger to controversy.

He was once banned for biting an opponent in the Netherlands and last season was banned for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.

Once again he was in the thick of things, creating Liverpool’s equaliser for Daniel Sturridge with a superb cross and then conceding a penalty with a needless handball to allow Eden Hazard to put Chelsea 2-1 ahead.

DENY CHELSEA

He then headed in Sturridges’s cross to deny Chelsea who had gone in front before halftime through Oscar.

“It is one point, but when you are winning in the last second, it is incredible to play six minute and 45 seconds of injury time. You do not see that,” said Benitez who was given a rousing reception by the Liverpool fans.

“I have not seen the (biting) incident, the players told me about it. We are not talking about that, we are so disappointed about the late goal.”

Earlier at White Hart Lane, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was left mystified as to how his side had lost to Tottenham despite looking comfortable for 75 minutes.

Shrugging off the title race as “being over three weeks ago” he told reporters: “For 80 minutes we didn’t concede a chance and we had two or three chances to score, it was all under control. We lost because of two big mistakes.”

Even his Tottenham counterpart Andre Villas-Boas admitted that defeat had looked the likely outcome.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Bangkok

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance

The Thaiger

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The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | The Thaiger

by Nicole Kash

Cycling tours offer a unique way to explore Thailand. Faster than walking but slower than driving, cycling tours cover plenty of ground while allowing cyclists to immerse themselves in the sights, smells, and culture of Thailand without the boundary of a car window.

Cycling tours can cover up to a heart-pumping 150 kilometre a day. Though exciting for many, some find longer distances daunting, especially newer cyclists or those out of practice. This is where the e-bike has begun filling a unique gap in Thailand’s adventure tourism industry. Thanks to e-bikes, longer distance day tours and challenging multi-day cycling tours are no longer reserved for fitness fanatics. 

Popular in the US and Europe, the e-bike has made its way to Thailand is now thriving within the Kingdom’s tourism industry. These motorised bicycles offer the option to assist cyclists with pedaling, which is especially useful for long distances and tough uphill climbs. Even with the help of the motor, cyclists still get plenty of exercise, as the pedal-assist system requires the rider to put some work in.

Unlike a scooter or motorbike, an e-bike does not run without the pedaling effort of the rider. They feature rechargeable batteries and an and off switch, allowing cyclists to challenge themselves as much as they’d like and get a little extra help when needed. 

The option of swapping our traditional bikes for e-bikes on cycling tours offer more tourists the opportunity to join in on cycling tours than ever before, growing the number of potential clients for Thai adventure tourism companies while fostering a climate of inclusivity.

Looking to join in on the fun? Here’s a look into a few of the single-day and multi-day bicycle tours with e-bike options offered by Bangkok based SpiceRoads Cycling! 

Road Cycling Bangkok to Phuket (10 days)

Starting in bustling Bangkok and ending in along Phuket’s sparkling coastline, this 10-day bicycle tour with e-bike options is the perfect mix of must-see sites and tucked away local spots all on smooth roads. Pedalling toward the scenic south, ride beyond the city lights and explore rural Thailand’s rich culture and welcoming villages while making stops at the east and west coast’s local beach spots along the way.

Rolling hills, golden sunsets, a real taste of local life, and of course serene sea views await you! This trip is fully supported with an air-conditioned van and riders can take a break and cool off while still enjoying the same views as the rest of the group. 

Phuket Highlights (½ day) 

Take a break from beach life to explore Phuket’s unique and often overlooked old town on this ½ day bicycle tour with e-bike options. We start on the town’s peripheral, exploring Koh Sirey’s community of sea gypsies and on to see and smell the fresh catch of the day as locals bid for the best deals at the fishing port.

Then we head downtown to admire Phuket Old Town’s Sino-Portuguese architecture, Jui Tui Shrine museum, and unique shops by bike. This leisurely 27 kilometre tour ends with a drive to stunning Khao Khad viewpoint for a scenic sea view and bird’s eye view over where we have ridden. 

Kanchanaburi Explorer (3 days) 

Immerse yourself in Kanchanaburi’s natural beauty and historic sites on this 3 day bicycle tour with e-bike options. Cycle along country roads and through local villages, enjoying mountain views and the thrill off jungle clad and dirt trails along the way.

Then explore off the bike, boarding a local train for a stunning train ride on Death Railway, visiting the historic and dark Hellfire Pass, and taking an optional boat trip to visit a Mon village. A diverse itinerary combining Kanchanburi’s stunning natural sites with stops at historical must-sees on a mix of tarmac and dirt trails assures you will never get bored on this 102 kilometre bicycle tour!

The rise of the e-bicycle in Thailand, a bit of motorised assistance | News by The Thaiger

To find out more, and see more tours from the Spice Roads team, click HERE.

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Phuket

82 year old Frenchman killed in motorbike crash with ATV in Phuket

Greeley Pulitzer

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82 year old Frenchman killed in motorbike crash with ATV in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A police officer examines the red ATV involved in a crash that killed an elderly Frenchman in Phuket

An elderly French man has died after an American woman lost control of her all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and crashed into his motorcycle in Chalong, southern Phuket. The woman was seriously injured. Police say the incident occurred on Soi Klum Yang in Chalong around 4pm on Thursday.

The crash involved a red ATV, and a black motorcycle ridden by the 82 year old Frenchman Robert Geoffray.

The woman, identified as 39 year old American Onome Alero Adeosun, suffered a broken right arm, leg and collarbone. Emergency workers found the elderly Frenchman lying unconscious on the road with serious head injuries. Medics performed CPR before sending both to Chalong Hospital, where the man was later pronounced dead.

His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for autopsy. The woman was transferred to Siriroj Hospital and is currently helping police with their investigation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today

The Thaiger

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Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Government House officials are turning to salt-tolerant plants - khaosod.co.th

Brackish tap water, with increased salinity caused by seawater back-flowing into the Chao Phraya River, is threatening the gardens in and around the Government House compound. Government House officials are seeking assistance from the Agriculture Department.

Several small tree species – Lamduan, Chor Sumalee, Rachavadi, Nom Maew and Hom Muenlee – are more vulnerable to brackish tap water. The gardens are watered from a supply pumped in from the Chao Phraya.

It’s been noted tha the saline level was around 400 milligrams per litre, still within the 1,000 mg/litre standard, but some of the species were already intolerant to the rising salinity.

Officials are seeking advice from the Agriculture Department about long-term measures to replant with species which would be more tolerant to the rising salinity of the water – situation they acknowledge will need to be managed in the short to medium term.

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

SCREENGRAB: Air Visual

Meanwhile, air around the capital today continues to be universally poor to very poor with readings as high as 187 near Suvarnabhumi Airport. Light airs, dust problems from northern-easter provinces and hot continental air flowing across the capital, continue to haunt Bangkok. Even with many factories closed today, and traffic lighter than weekdays, Bangkok’s air has been recorded as the ninth worst city in the world for air pollution.

Right across the city the air quality readings are into the ‘unhealthy’ zone.

Chiang Mai, Lampang and Central Thailand are fairing no better – all with readings at least 3 times the Thai upper safe limit of 50 microns of 2.5micron particulate per cubic metre. The World Health Organisation sets its limit even lower at 25.

Pattaya has air quality readings today of 162, whilst even Phuket, in the south, is registering readings between 100 and 145 with reduced visibility today.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

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