Newcomer Thailand has clear plan for ice hockey
The 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Skills Development Camp, held in Bangkok last month, featured the participation of athletes from four nations - Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. It was held from 28 to 30 July.
Over 30 athletes, coaches and managers worked together with coaches Emma Poynton of Australia and Espen Hegde of Norway to build a support system and athlete development pipeline for the sport in the Asia and Oceania regions.
Although Thailand is a newcomer into the Para ice hockey world, the Southeast Asian nation has a clear plan for the future.
"The C-Pool Worlds and this Skills Development Camp really raised the awareness in the community as more and more people want to join as players. We are also monitoring what other Asian nations, such as Singapore and Cambodia, are doing. If they can step up their game and look up to Thai model, it could really lift up the level of Para ice hockey in the region,“ Roongrote Chaiman, president of the local organising committee.
"We are not focused only on Thailand, but also on nearby countries to encourage them to get the programme started. That way, we can have more friendly competition in the Asia-Oceania region,“ he added.
Laflamme had only words of praise for the host nation.
"Once I got here, I was happy to see that everything we have discussed was put in place. It is just great to know that we can rely on such good cooperation with the LOC. When you come to Thailand and ask for something, you know that it will be delivered,“ she said.
Asked about the fast development of Para ice hockey in Thailand, Laflamme added: "They do the right thing and push forward. They are very ambitious and I have to give them credit for the success they have had recently. Being here in Thailand was incredible and seeing what they have done with the programme in just three years is a remarkable achievement."