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Khunying Patama creates history as first Thai woman to be elected into IOC

Badminton scored a first when Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Patama Leeswadrakul became the first Thai woman to be elected into the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 52-year-old Khunying Patama was one of the eight new faces elected to the high-profile IOC at its 131st Congress in Lima, Peru on Friday. The Thai badminton supremo's name was one of the eight proposed to the IOC Executive Board by the Election Commission chaired by Princess Anne of Great Britain. 

Khunying Patama – who is known for her charity work – has vowed to cut through race and religion and use sports to promote education to make the world a better place to live in.
She is the fourth person from Thailand to win the post in IOC after Praphas Charusathien (1971-1974); Dawee Chullasapya (1974-1989); and Nat Indrapana (1990-now).

Describing her election to the IOC as "humbled and overwhelmed" she went on to say: "I would like to thank all the commissioners who have shown faith in my ability to serve IOC."

"I also feel honoured to have earned the trust of IOC president Thomas Bach," said Khunying Patama, adding that "I will give all I can" during her tenure with the high-profile organisation.

In the same breath Khunying Patama did not forget the big help she got from Gen Prawit Wongsuwan deputy prime minister and president of the Thai National Olympic Committee and Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul for their support.

"My election into the IOC comes with huge responsibilities and I will use this opportunity to develop sports in Thailand and other countries."

Khunying Patama comes into the IOC with a wealth of experience handling sports at international level after getting into the thick of action at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou as team manager of the Thai badminton team.

She was also the team manager of the Thai badminton team to the 2012 London Olympics and a year later was elected as the president of the Badminton Association of Thailand.

Under her leadership Thailand badminton has scaled new heights. This year's Sea Games held in Kuala Lumpur last month is testimony to this when Thailand won four golds in badminton – Thailand's best ever haul in the biennial games.

In May 2017 Khunying Patama added another feather in her cap when she was elected to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) council during its meeting in Gold Coast, Australia.

Last year Khunying Patama was voted Person of the Year by Thailand Tatler magazine.  


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