Art Phainpaniporn, president of the Softball Association of Thailand (SBAT), continues to plod to bring the game to a higher level despite having failed to a have a podium finish in two tournaments they have hosted.

The latest tournament they hosted was the Slow Pitch Softball Asia Cup 2023, which also served as the World Cup qualifier and end today, where Thailand missed the third World Cup slot, when they lost to China 16-0, in the third placing match this morning.

The top three teams – Chinese Taipei, Philippines and China qualified for the inaugural World Cup to be held in Mexico.

Last year in May, Thailand hosted the 3rd Asian Universities Women Softball Asia Cup 2022, where Thailand finished fifth.

“We tried our best here and knew that we were up against top teams and the going would be tough. But having qualified for the third placing match was already good. We may have missed the World Cup boat, but it is work in progress and we have gained tremendously in experience and exposure having played the top teams,” said 44-year young and vibrant Art.

SBAT president Art seated second from left in a Group photo with Softball Asia president Datuk Low Beng Choo and all the officials who assisted in the tournament

“We are on a mission for softball in Thailand and I am doing my best to give all the opportunities for the game to improve,” said the property broker and businessman, who took over the presidency from Kosol Yimpaiboon in October 2020.

His vision is to see Thai softball attain a podium finish at the Asian Games in sevenyears time and be ranked among the top ten in the world in ten years.

“It is going to be hard work and I may have to pass the baton to some one  else, but while I am here, I intend to continue to work hard to develop and promote the game and continue to raise the game to the best of my ability and resources.”

Among the first thing he did when he became president was to 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 not compromising on the quality of the equipment in anyway.

“We have several on going programmes at grassroots and work closely with the schools,” he said.

Art plans to host another tournament by the end of year and hopes Softball Asia will grant it.

“I have to thank Softball Asia president, Datuk Low Beng Choo, for all her guidance and encouragement to manage and run tournaments 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.

Among those he mentioned was, his personal friend Akarin Hirunyaprvek the Asian Squash Racquet Federation and Thailand Squash Racquet Federation secretary, and his SBAT secretary, Puwanai Chaichompu.

“I also have to thank Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Chinese Taipei Softball Association for their support towards this tournament.”

Indeed, Art is working hard with his officer bearers and supporter friends, to raise the standard of softball in Thailand and their dedicated and diligent work will eventually will be rewarded in a big way in time to come.

Development work does not mature overnight.