Students show off sporting prowess at Mahathai Games

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The annual Mahathai Games took place recently at the Pattaya Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities and the level of competition seems to be getting better each year.

With the students divided into four teams, red, blue, green and yellow, the two-day competition, held from July 24-25, was the culmination of several weeks of qualifying heats in a variety of sports, including track & field athletics, swimming, wheelchair basketball, volleyball, sitting volleyball and ta-kraw.

Former Paralympian weightlifter Prakit Thongsang carries in the flame to start the Mahathai Games 2015.Former Paralympian weightlifter Prakit Thongsang carries in the flame to start the Mahathai Games 2015.

The school has a long and proud tradition of producing athletes who have gone on to compete at national and international level, with several former students representing Thailand at the London 2015 Paralympics.

But for many of the current students this recent competition was the first time they have ever participated in any type of sporting activity.  Living in the rural areas of the country there are little or no opportunities for a person with a disability to find any kind of sport they can participate in.  But once they are at the school in Pattaya every student is encouraged to find a sport they enjoy.

Apart from the above mentioned sports at this year’s Mahathai Games, the school also provides equipment for wheelchair fencing, petanque, wheelchair tennis, archery and pistol shooting, though for the latter sport the students are taken to a professional shooting range.

The next Paralympic Games will be taking place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and the school is hoping to discover a sporting talent who can represent not only Thailand at the Games, but also Pattaya and the vocational school.

More information about the school can be found at website: www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]

The blue team led from start to finish in this wheelchair race.

No run-up but a strong arm required in the javelin competition.

The winner of the discus prepares to launch another attempt.

Wheelchair shot putters used only a pole for support.

Winners of the relay swim race for those missing one or more limbs.