Middle: Karate Trainer Jitrpanu Kongtham

Believe it or not? Karate is what Phuket Sports Association successful the most. “The charm of karate is strength within the gentleness,” said Mr. Jitrpanu Kongtham or “Dang”, a coach of Karate-Do Club Phuket who take Phuket’s youths to many national competitions. Phuketindex.com sat and talked with him a few days ago and this is what we learned.

“Ajarn Dang” has an extensive experience in Karate-Do for more than 30 years. He is now a level 4 trainer of Thailand Karate Federation, a staff coach for National Youth Karate Team and also a coach for Karate-Do Club Phuket.

He began as a special trainer for schools under control of Phuket City Municipality years ago and organised a summer course for youth continuously. Thereafter Phuket City Municipality gave a support to establish a karate club in Phuket in 2005 and allowed the club to use the Gymnasium 3 at Saphan Hin for training, there are more and more youths pay attention to Karate and join the training since then.

Ajarn Dang explained, “Karate is a kind of martial arts using hand and leg strikes. Karate helps enhance physical strength. Thought it might be perceived as a way to violence by many people, karate in fact is an art of mind training that finally it can perfectly control your body.”

Most of my students are at the ages of 9-18 years. I realized that they want something more than sports and that guide me to focus on self-disciplines and concentration. These two things, will help no matter what, studying, social life, or even karate exercise. Children in our club is a good example for this theory, they got an average grade above 3 and that make their parents confident in what they provided for the children.”

For Phuket Karate-Do Club’s success, Ajarn Dang said, “I’m very proud of my students. They can apply what I teach and bring back honour to Phuket. Like in the 52th National Youth Sport Competition, our students won 5 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze, as well student Nampeung Monticha won award for outstanding players in particular.”

“Although, there are not many students in our club, they are all love Kerate. I don’t want to push them if they don’t want me to do that. I’d rather set a goal and challenge them. I know some people have a question in mind ‘An activity like this will ruin the student’s leaning in school or not?’ I do have the answer ‘No’ From what I see now, a number of students can entry to many famous school through the sports quota.”

“For me, though I have an opportunity to be a trainer in the centre, I chose too be in Phuket. As I was born here, I think it’d be better if I can use my potential to support Phuket’s youths and to improve sports in Phuket. It’s not money, nor awards but being a part of the students’ success that make me most satisfied.”

Interested in the club or karate training call Ajarn Dang 089-6477052 or visit the training site at Gymnasium 3, Saphan Hin, Mon-Sat 6pm-8pm.

The Laguna Phuket Triathlon organisers are excited to announce that German triathlete Jan Frodeno, who won his country’s first triathlon gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, will be competing in this year’s “Race of Legends” in Phuket on 6 December.

In Beijing Frodeno edged out the pre race favourites in an exciting sprint finish to win a surprise gold medal.  Frodeno has also recently struck a gold win in the ITU World Championship Series in Yokohama.

Making his debut in Phuket, Frodeno’s presence will certainly add to the excitement as he battles it out with Australian defending champion Richie Cunningham and 2007 Laguna Phuket Triathlon champion, Massimo Cigana from Italy.

Laguna’s reigning women’s champion Belinda Granger of Australia will defend her crown following her maiden victory last year. Just three months after surgery on her Iliac artery, Granger returned to competition in style claiming victory in the Honolulu Ironman 70.3, and pushing 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Samantha McGlone into second place. Granger’s dynamism and winning spirit has also awarded her a recent second place in the Subaru Ironman Canada.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways International. Renowned as the “Race of Legends”, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon boasts possibly more world champions racing in past fields than any other race in the world short of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.

Apart from a tremendously exciting pro race, race organisers also anticipate the largest field ever at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2009.  For the fifth consecutive year entries to the individual race have completely sold out with 950 individual athletes registered. In addition, 50 teams will be taking part in the team relay and there are still places left to enter the 6k Fun Run.

For more information, visit www.lagunaphukettriathlon.com.