Art Phainpaniporn, the newly elected president of the Softball Association of Thailand (SBAT), a young and vibrant person, is on a mission for softball in Thailand.
The 43-year-old property broker and businessman, who took over the presidency from Kosol Yimpaiboon in October 2020, has the vision to see Thai softball attain a podium finish at the Asian Games in eight years time and be ranked among the top ten in the world in ten years.
“That does not mean that I intend to stay president till then. I will set my vision and plans underway and at the same time groom a successor to take my place,” said Art as he is popularly known.
“I am an ardent softball lover and passionate about the game, and have been playing for the last 20 years, although at club level only.
“I came into the picture for SBAT because I felt the association needed a young leader with new ideas. I am glad that I was given the mandate and immediately set out to develop and promote the game.
“I also have a great team in my Exco, who are very supportive and we work as a team.
“Among the first thing I did, was set up a company to produce softball equipment locally, so that it is available to schoolchildren taking up the game and development at a cheaper and affordable cost. But we did not compromise on the quality of the equipment.
“We have also several on going programmes for grassroots and at the national level have managed three more clubs to be set up and join the league.”
Art is currently busy to see the 3rd Asian Universities Women Softball Asia Cup 2022 which comes to an end tomorrow at the Rugby International schools grounds in Pattaya, Thailand, end in a successful note.
But judging by the feedback from participating teams and Softball Asia (SA) president Datuk Low Beng Choo, it has been receiving raving reports so far.
They are pleased with the hospitality, the accommodation facilities, the food, transportation and organisation of the tournament.
“I have to thank Softball Asia president for all her guidance and encouragement to manage and run this tournament and the various technical officers present from SA in assisting to manage the tournament without any hitches.
“I have also to thank many of my personal friends who had come out to support me with sponsorship and assisting me in managing the tournament,” said Art.
One person in particular, he mentioned was, Akarin Hirunyaprvek, who was the one who introduced him to the venue, as he used to work at the Rugby International schools grounds in Pattaya, Thailand
Akarin, who is the Asian Squash Racquet Federation and Thailand Squash Racquet Federation secretary, is an avid softball player at club level, is also assisting the tournament with the sound system and live streaming, as he is also an events manager.
“The facilities here, if I must say myself, is excellent, although the diamond is 20 metres short (suppose to be 220 metres), but Softball Asia okayed it
“This tournament is the first international tournament in Thailand after a longtime and we intend to work closely with Softball Asia to host one tournament a year at least.”
Art said that the 3rd Asian Universities Women Softball Asia Cup 2022, was inherited from the previous team of SAT as it was already awarded to Thailand.
“We had some problems securing the finance for the tournament as we did not get support from the Sports Authorities as it was a University tournament and asked the Education Authorities to assist.
“However, the Education Authorities did not support us, and we had source for funds from sponsors and friends.
“While Softball Asia assisted us, we still had to source for 500,000 baht (about RM63,000.00).
“Glad we had the support and we able to run this tournament and from the experience gained here,we hope to host more tournaments at different venues in Thailand to further promote the game across the country.”
Datuk Low expressed her satisfaction with the hosting the tournament here and said they give them an age-group tournament next.
Indeed, Art and his local organsing committee, can stand and walk tall after the tournament ends tomorrow with a closing ceremony dinner after the final.