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Phuket Sports: Julian Seal’s journey passing the baton

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: Julian Seal’s journey passing the baton | Thaiger

PHUKET: Julian Seal is a man on a mission.

Inspired originally by “Met Track”, a London Metropolitan police initiative to get disaffected teenagers off the streets by using sport, his enthusiasm was galvanized by the success of the 2012 Olympic Games, and the inspiring way in which it showed how sport can foster not only excellence, but can instill in young people such fundamental human values as selflessness, team-spirit, fair-play, commitment, and a joy in taking part. Sport crosses the divide that separates people from different cultures and creeds. A lingua franca.

Julian, who has always believed passionately in the inspiriting value of sport, decided to make his own contribution by undertaking a 35,000 mile round-the-world journey. Five Olympic rings, five regions of the world to be travelled. Hence the birth of “Sports Trek”.

He established links with five London Primary schools, made friends with James Ellington, an Olympic sprinter who works with young people.

Armed with an autographed football from the Olympic football competition donated by Lord Coe, his marathon began with the acquisition of an orange special edition Land Rover Discovery G4.On launch-day, it appeared, phoenix-like, parked on the ashes of Croydon’s Reeves Furniture store. Having survived for 140 years, the store had been burned to the ground by an angry mob of young people during the London riots of 2011. Now, Mr Reeves was there. So too was James Ellington. An iconic launch-pad.

Since that eventful day, Julian has driven across Europe, across the vast steppes of Russia, over the snowy 3000 meter passes of the Golden Mountains of Altai, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet, and on to remote Ulaan Baator and Siberia. His Discovery, shipped from Vladivostok, is now on its way to Australia.

There he is hoping to drive coast to coast and especially to the Northern Territories to link up with aboriginal children. And then? South America.

A professional photographer, Julian has taken thousands of pictures. Pictures, they say, speak louder than words: where language fails to communicate, these images can reveal to children worlds they might never dream of otherwise seeing.

These photographs become a way in which links can be forged with other children from different parts of the globe.

And on Julian’s visits to schools, a key part of his mission, each and every boy and girl has a chance to hold and kick that Olympic football.

What he has experienced is a life-transforming experience.Precipitous, pot–holed roads; sometimes no road at all; unbelievable extremes of wealth and poverty; remote comunities with nothing but a communal well in the street for their water.

Mongolia left an indelible impression; it was, he said, like being in a time-warp where nothing had changed for centuries.

Six year olds were expert horsemen. But the people were happy. And the children wrote letters to Julian to show their appreciation. Contentment is not always dependent on wealth. And kindness in poor communities is rarely in short supply. We in the West have lessons to learn too.

Here in Thailand, Julian has made contact with Muay Thai boxers from the Rawai Muay Thai and Sumalee Gyms and is following their progress.

Muay Thai boxing is a prime example of how sport can foster international friendships, since so many of the young people who train here come from all over the globe.

What of the future? Julian is hoping to mount an exhibition of his photographs, many of which already appear on his website, on Facebook, and on Linkedin.

Maybe eventually he will publish a book.which tells the story of his “Sports Trek” through its text and pictures.

But the important thing is to pass the baton, spread the good word about sport and encourage young children every where to not only get involved, but to communicate their enthusiasm to others. As Nelson Mandela averred: “sport breaks down racial barriers”

Julian, whose trip is largely self-funded, welcomes any offers of sponsorship or financial assistance.

For more information, visit: sports-trek.com.

He can also be reached through Facebook, Twitter and the Sports Trek blog as well as at Flickr Julian Seal Photography or by email: sportstrek2012@gmail.com.

— Patrick Campbell

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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Transport

Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui

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Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's version of the Suez Canal blockage.

Footbridges in Phuket stood in the way of a luxury yacht travelling from its home in Phuket to Koh Samui when the boat was too tall to pass. Police received a call around 8 pm last night from the truck driver after his trailer carrying the yacht had trouble getting under one of several bridges for walkers to pass over the highway. The boat was travelling down Thepkrasattri Road, where it was stopped by the bridge near Baan Tha Reua School. The boat also had trouble at the pedestrian bridge at the Provincial Electricity Authority Thalang Branch and the bridge at Baan Lipon School in Srisoonthorn.

All the bridges were supposed to have a 5-metre clearance, though one observer speculated that all the repaving of the road over the years may have raised the road and lowered the clearance. Traffic police responded to the first bridge incident by sending officers to direct traffic and make sure bikes and cars didn’t pass and impeded progress on freeing the boat. The second incident about 30 minutes later was resolved by letting air out of the truck’s tires to lower it just enough to pass under the bridge. The third snag prompted the driver to go in person to the Thalang Police station to request help yet again.

This time police were less amused and suggested the truck driver try to resolve the issue himself and call back to the police only if he was unable to free the luxury yacht. A traffic police officer went to follow up with the stranded boat at the end of his shift and found the driver had given up and decided to return the yacht to its Phuket origin at Boat Lagoon Marina in Koh Kaew. The boat, now damaged from the bridge bumps, wasn’t going to make it to Surat Thani to be sailed to Koh Samui on this journey. The boat radar had broken off on one of the bridges. No word on any major damage to the pedestrian bridges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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