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Phuket Sports: Olympic medalist comes to Phuket

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Phuket Sports: Olympic medalist comes to Phuket | Thaiger

PHUKET: Two-time Olympic medalist David Davies spoke to the Phuket Gazette about his upcoming trip to Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club to teach a Swimming Stroke Clinic tomorrow.

Phuket Gazette: What brings you to Phuket and will this be your first time in Thailand?

David Davies: It will be my first time in Thailand. Following my third consecutive Olympics, I thought I’d like to see a bit of the world [and] see if I could give something back to the sport. I’ve done several swim clinics before and I really enjoy it.

Luckily enough, I have the contacts in Thailand, so I saw it as an opportunity for a working holiday. I’m really looking forward to the trip.

Is there anything you are most looking forward to about your trip to Phuket?

I’d like to see some of the beaches, as everybody always talks about how nice they are (hopefully the weather is good while I am there) and also experience the general culture of Thailand. It’s obviously very different to the UK, but it is very popular with the Brits who move there or go on holiday. I’m going in very open–minded and really looking forward to it.

Whenever I go away, I always get involved with the local cuisine, so I’ll definitely be going for all of the local foods.

You’ve been to an incredible three Olympic games, medaling in 2004 and 2008, and racing very well this year in London 2012. Which was your most memorable and why?

That’s a very tricky question as they are all special in so many ways. The first one was in Athens, where the Olympics originated from, and I never expected to get a medal, so the massive hysteria and shock from winning a medal was amazing.

Beijing 2008 was probably my most courageous performance; with the last part of the 10km open water swim being incredibly painful, but I managed to hang in there for an Olympic Silver medal in my second consecutive Olympic games. I was very proud to have maintained such a high level of performance over two consecutive games, and so that for me, was a huge achievement.

This year’s event in London was such a historical event in my home nation, that had been talked about every day for years and years, and then to finally be there racing with the home crowd cheering on was a magnificent feeling. The whole nation got behind us and it was a really nice way to finish my Olympic career really.

Walking through the Olympic Park every day with so much support was just an incredible feeling.

What would you single out as your best achievement or what do you feel you will always take with you long after you quit swimming?

As an athlete, it was always about the Olympic Games for me. That’s what inspired me to get into the sport and that’s why I competed and that’s what I wanted to succeed in.

I think doing it twice [winning medals in 2004 and 2008] and having the commitment, desire and motivation to continue for another four years after Athens… maintain that level of performance and win another medal, was something very unique and special to me.

The race in Beijing was actually only my 3rd open water race, so I was very inexperienced and it was a new sport to me. I probably won that medal through courage and determination on the day. I had absolutely nothing left. I wanted absolutely no regrets and as an athlete, that’s all you can do.

I’m not a massively talented athlete, I’m just a very hard working honest guy and that was the result of my work ethic really.

How did you keep your motivation to train at such a high level over three Olympic Games?

When I look back now, I think that it is a long time to keep that motivation.

However, there are no short cuts to get to the top, and the Olympics was always my focus.

I always remember a coach of mine saying that when I’m struggling to get out of bed, one of my competitors on the other side of the world won’t be and that they will be getting an edge on their training.

I’ve always believed in doing it the hard way and with 100 per cent effort and commitment.

What advice would you give swimmers starting out on their own ‘Olympic Journey’?

I would say that you should never give up on your dreams.

I remember a huge idol of mine, Grant Hackett from Australia, was my motivation as a youth swimmer growing up. All I wanted to do was to be like him and emulate his successes in the pool.

Then in 2004 at the Olympic Final, I found myself qualified fastest for the 1,500m Final with Grant in the lane next to me! It was a strange feeling, however, it shows that with hard work and consistency even your most distant dreams can become reality.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge

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Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge | Thaiger
PHOTO: Hotels and other tourism business are hoping the July 1st reopening goal can still be achieved.

A hotel information blog is claiming that, despite growing Covid-19 numbers, Phuket should stick to its schedule in reopening to travellers without quarantine in July. That’s only 2 and a half months away.

In an interview with the Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData, they stressed that while it is crucial to rein in the spread of Covid-19 and the B117 strain now menacing Thailand, the risk must not overshadow the need to push forward with vaccinations and the march towards eliminating the quarantine by July in order to save the tourism industry and all those dependent on it.

“The Phuket pilot program is essential in creating a path towards economic recovery for Thailand, a country heavily dependent on tourism. More than 17% of Thailand’s gross domestic product is attributed to tourism and the Covid-19 pandemic has lead to the worst economic free-fall in over 20 years”

The blog acknowledges the inherent risk and possible appearance of foolishness to prioritise the plans to reopen and carry on with the same rollout schedule. But they urge Thai authorities to consider that July 1 is still 2 and a half months away, leaving ample time to recover and make progress towards the approaching Phuket reopening. A vital aspect of the reopening plan lies in vaccinating over 70% of Phuket’s provincial residents, a sizable task, but one that brings great benefit with or without the scheduled reopening.

“Pushing ahead to achieve this goal puts Phuket on track to welcome back tourists, perhaps in a “bio-bubble”, and restart the economy. The economy is desperate with household debt growing, pushing the government to enact emergency decrees to provide relief. These households need the return of tourism and the influx of cash international tourists will bring.”

The blog hopes that Thai authorities can balance the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in Phuket to protect the Thai population with the economic need to bring back tourism. They believe that with sufficient measures in place, vaccinated locals could welcome vaccinated international tourists back to Phuket reopening safely in July.

SOURCE: Hotel News Resource

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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