One of Thailand’s biggest tennis celebrities, Paradorn Srichaphan has been named by the International Tennis Federation to represent the game as an Athlete Role Model at the second Youth Olympic Games to be held in the Chinese city of Nanjing from August 16-28.
The 34-year-old Srichaphan, a household name in his home country who retired in 2010, won five singles titles in an outstanding career and was among the world’s top 30 during his peak playing days.
A two-time Olympian, Srichaphan was his country’s proud standard bearer at the Athens Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2004. He was a member of the Thai Davis Cup team for nine years spread over 24 ties. He also served the team as captain and coach.
The Athlete Role Models program will be implemented by the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee as part of its Culture and Education Programme. Athlete Role Models are Olympians who exemplify the Olympic values, both on and off the field of play. At Nanjing, they will connect and talk to athletes and other young people in person and via social media to share their life stories and playing experiences.
“Paradorn Srichaphan is an excellent choice to serve as an Athlete Role Model,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti in a statement obtained by the Post.
“He always showed great professionalism and sportsmanship, and took great pride in playing for Thailand. I know that he will be an outstanding representative of tennis and of his country and continent in Nanjing.”
Srichaphan said: “I am honoured to be selected as an Athlete Role Model. I believe the Youth Olympic Games will be a fantastic event for the young athletes to compete on the global stage.
“This should be a great opportunity for them in the early stages of their athletic careers. I am looking forward to spending time with the young athletes.”
Sixty-four players will contest the 2014 Youth Olympic Tennis Event, with each player taking part in three events, singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Mixed doubles will feature in the Youth Olympics for the first time following its successful reintroduction at the London 2012 Olympics. A maximum of two boys and two girls per country can be selected, with entries confirmed in June.
The Nanjing Games will welcome around 3,800 athletes and officials from the 204 National Olympic Committees. Young athletes – aged between 14 and 18 years – will compete in 28 sports.