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Phuket para-athlete visits Nong Boat to lift spirits

Phuket para-athlete visits Nong Boat to lift spirits

PHUKET: Nonthaphat ‘Nong Boat’ Sae-ong, the 12-year-old boy blinded by an acute sinusitis bacterial infection spreading to his eyes and spinal fluid, received a surprise visit from Phuket Governor Woonciew Narong and Thai para-athlete Wassana Yim-in on Friday (June 24).

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 26 June 2022, 05:29PM


The visit to Nong Boat’s home in Thalang by the Governor and Ms Wassana, a visually impaired athlete who represents her country at national level in cycling, swimming and athletics, was done in an effort to boost his morale and encourage him to look forward with positivity, despite his condition.

Ms Wassana explained to Nong Boat and fellow youngsters from his village that she was educated at a special school for the blind when she was younger and has been able to develop and achieve great things despite her impairment.

The 24-year-old from Koh Kaew relayed how she took up sports at a young age and trained hard throughout her school days. With the correct support and guidance she has managed to represent Thailand at national level in many worldwide championships.

She received and honour in last year’s National Sports Day after her performance in the 2021 Road Para-Cycling World Championships in Portugal where she finished in second place in her classification out of 17 other international contestants.

She also recently received an award from Governor Narong at a special ceremony with fellow athletes to recognise her achievements in the para-athletics world.

Ms Wassana is also currently studying a five-year bachelor’s degree in physical education for children with special needs at Yala University.

She told Nong Boat that she hoped she could inspire him to achieve similarly great things and that she hoped he would not allow his impairment to restrict him developing in life in whichever pursuits he chooses.

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Ms Wassana added that she hoped her visit and their talk would also give Nong Boat more confidence and allow him to relax more as he prepares to enter his studies at a local school for the blind, as coordinated by the province.

Governor Narong had accompanied Nong Boat to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, one of the leading hospitals in the country, for treatment last month.

It was also confirmed that the Social Development and Human Security Office would take care of all subsequent treatments and provide support and guidance to Nong Boat and his family.

Initially it was believed Nong Boat’s condition was brought on as a direct result of the boy receiving a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.

However, this was refuted on May 11 by Dr Witita Jang-iam, Deputy Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, who stressed that Nong Boat’s loss of vision in both eyes was not a side effect.

“The vaccination and the child’s illness are events that occurred at approximately the same time. It was not the vaccination that caused his illness,” she said.

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