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US wins Phuket Thailand Open

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: American Kerri Walsh won her 39th career FIVB world tour gold medal, part of a historic day in the US$190,000 Phuket Thailand Open, the women’s beach volleyball finals played here yesterday.

Along with partner Nicole Branagh, the US side defeated surprise opponents Marta Menegatti and Valeria Rosso of Italy, 21-23, 21-14, 15-11. Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado of Brazil won the bronze medal by defeating Sanne Keizer and Marlene Van Iersel of Holland, 21-17, 21-14.

The title gives Walsh sole possession of the lead in overall tour wins. She had been tied at 38 with former partner Misty May-Treanor, since the end of 2008.

This week Walsh partnered with Branagh for the third time. Two of their events have produced wins, having also won in Dubai in 2008. She missed the entire 2009 season and all but two events this year while giving birth to two boys in May 2009 and 2010.

“It feels like a new world to me because all that I have accomplished is so far behind me,” Walsh said. “This win is so special to me; it’s my first win as a mother of two. I would feel better about it if I had played better in the last match. I’m bummed I let the nerves get to me. I’ve played some big matches in big settings, but today I was nervous,” she admitted.

The fourth-seeded Americans became just the fourth women’s team to win a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal after winning five elimination matches. They had lost in the second round to Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez Steiner of Spain, but then swept six straight opponents before the title match.

In the gold medal tiebreaker set to 15 points, the USA led just 5-4 when they went on a 6-2 run to gain control at 11-6.

Surprise finalists Menegatti and Rosso, the first Italian team to ever compete in a gold medal match, seemed to have the crowd on their side.

The 16th-seeded duo became partners during the week preceding last week’s tournament in Sanya, China, due to an injury to Menegatti’s regular partner, Greta Cicolari.

“We really came here to win gold; it was not enough to just be here,” Rosso said. “We made it this far due to our service game, but today we weren’t serving very well. I feel like we both grew up a lot here.”

The Brazilian Salgado sisters defeated the top-seeded team in Phuket and suffered just one loss in the tournament, but the semifinal defeat at the hands of the Italians prevented them from playing for the gold medal. Instead, the eighth-seeded team finished the season with a bronze medal. The Salgados defeated Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands 21-17, 21-14 to win their third bronze of the year and ninth career medal.

“I would have liked it to end a little better, but it’s nice to get a bronze,” said Maria Clara. “It’s a big step for us to finish the way we did the last two events (placed fourth in Sanya). We were tired. We have domestic events every other week in Brazil and we have to go right back for the next one. The high finish means we shouldn’t have to play in the country quota next season.”

In the five-year history of events in Phuket, the Americans have won the last four, with Walsh also winning in 2007 with May-Treanor and Jen Kessy and April Ross claiming the titles in 2008 and 2009.

In the Federbrau Beach Volleyball Hotel Challenge, Le Meridien took the gold, while the Hilton Arcadia Resort and Spa took silver and the JW Marriott took bronze.

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader

Maya Taylor

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Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The owner of a luxury resort on the Thai island of Phuket is facing a social media storm after condemning the current pro-democracy movement and one of its main organisers. Taking to Instagram, Vorasit Issara, owner of the five-star Sri Panwa Phuket Resort, singles out protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul for his disapproval, saying “she should be in prison”.

“This bullshit has got to stop. She is not Thai. Who is she working for? This one needs to be in prison”.

Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader | News by The Thaiger

Sharing a photo of Panusaya, he adds, “arrest this child.” Vorasit incorrectly asserted that Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul isn’t Thai. In fact she was born in 1998 in Nonthaburi and IS a Thai citizen.

His post has since gone viral, prompting outrage from those who support the anti-government movement. A hashtag calling for a boycott of his Sri Panwa Phuket resort has taken off on Twitter, at a time when almost all hotels are battling for survival, especially on Phuket. The hashtag #แบนศรีพันวา (Ban Sri Panwa) is trending on top on Twitter.

Digging up the 38 year old’s past indicates hissupport of Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the coup that brought him to power in 2014. Speaking to Coconuts Bangkok, Vorasit denied being “out-of-touch” and “elite” and said he’s unconcerned about the boycott call.

“If you don’t love (the political) establishment, you better not come to my resort. Don’t be my guest,” he said in the Coconuts story.

Others are now using Google reviews to attack the property, accusing Vorasit of supporting a dictatorship.

The anti-government rally held in Bangkok, at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus and the Sanam Luang royal parade grounds over the weekend, drew up to 30,000 people in Bangkok’s drizzly wet-season weather. Panusaya was one of the protesters who organised the event and was the first, in July, to read out a 10 point manifesto that, for the first time, openly mentioned the reform of the Thai monarchy.

Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader | News by The Thaiger

Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader | News by The Thaiger

Vorasit’s comments come as the newly-crowned Miss Grand Thailand also faces a backlash, after speaking up in support of anti-government protesters. Pacharaporn Chantarapadit has been hit with racist insults on social media after condemning the current administration and saying she stands with the protesters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Weather

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued

The Thaiger

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Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Rawai Mayor, Aroon Solos, ordered all beaches in the area to close after a foreigner was rescued this morning after being unable to make it back to shore. The foreigner was swimming off Ao Sane beach, just north of the popular Nai Harn Beach, when lifeguards were sent out to help bring him back to shore. The recent weather has been partly attributed to Tropical Storm Noul as other beaches areas around Patong have been closed since Friday.

Mayor Aroon ordered both the Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches closed until further notice.

Noul crossed over the Vietnamese coastline in the early hours of Friday morning and tracked westwards into Laos, then Thailand’s north east, dragging in moisture from the Indian Ocean and intensifying the south-west monsoon.

The Chief of the Cherngtalay Tambon says that, once weather is more stable, the island’s beaches will reopen.

“All beaches in our area, Surin Beach, Bang Tao beach and other beaches, are closed today. We will reopen them when the weather improves.” Strong winds have contributed to falling trees and power outages across the island with one tree falling on the island’s main traffic artery, Thepkasattri Road, blocking traffic.

Officials are also warning road travellers to drive carefully after a car reportedly flipped over yesterday during wet conditions. The Thai Meteorological Department has also re-issued a weather warning today, saying that Noul has been now downgraded from a Category 3 tropical storm to a tropical depression.

The remnants of Noul currently sit over the Kancanaburi province after surging through Thailand’s north eastern and central provinces earlier today.

“Strong wind waves are likely in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In the upper portion of both seas, the waves will be likely 2-4 meters high and more than 4 meters high in thundershowers. In the lower portion, the waves will be likely about 2 meters and in thundershower areas more than 3 meters high. All ships keep ashore through 20 September.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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