Mayor seeks 3 billion baht for disabled sports facility

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Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome wants to spend 3 billion baht to renovate the Pattaya Indoor Sports Arena to make it the nation’s main venue for disabled athletes.

Following Thailand’s strong finish at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London, Itthiphol met with Sports Association for the Disabled President Maj. Gen. Osoth Bhavilai Sept. 18 at city hall. The two outlined an agreement for Pattaya to transform the existing sports stadium on Soi Chaiyapruek 2 into a host site for the Paralympics Committee of Thailand.

The police general, who also heads the Paralympics Committee, wants the new facility to offer a swimming pool, care fitness center, training programs, ramps, accessible restrooms and doctors living on the premises. Work should be complete within three years, in time to train athletes for the next Paralympics, he said.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Maj. Gen. Osoth Bhavilai look over plans to renovate the Pattaya Indoor Sports Arena to make it the nation’s main venue for disabled athletes. Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Maj. Gen. Osoth Bhavilai look over plans to renovate the Pattaya Indoor Sports Arena to make it the nation’s main venue for disabled athletes.

Funding for the project remains in question, however, as Itthiphol earlier diverted money earmarked for construction of a football field to cut trees, plant flowers and otherwise beautify Pattaya Beach. More than 560 million baht is needed to complete the stadium and budget for completion of the entire athletics compound totals about 800 million.

The mayor and general estimated turning the planned indoor and outdoor stadiums into a facility capable of hosting a Paralympics would cost 3 billion baht, including the cost for additional land.

Itthiphol said the normal budget for such a project is spread over five years. However, that would be too long, he said, adding that he will push the Cabinet to provide expedited funds.