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The virtual village where athletes live

The athletes' village at the Universiade is bustling with activity. It has almost everything that a village of that kind should have and participants might not find any loopholes to make a fuss about it.

Published on August 7, 2007

Hundreds of athletes from different cultures and races wander here and there inside a complex which is big enough for them to hang around in all day long.

From money exchange, ticketing office, restaurants, post office, beauty salons, internet cafes, lost and found centre, convenience stores to a Thai market, the village has everything and one does not need to step outside Thammasat University's Rangsit Campus.

Apart from the canteen where multi-national cuisine is served, the International Zone is the other point where the athletes can get together. At the end of the day, cultural shows are performed to give a glimpse of Thai culture.

Also, there is a Thai Traditional Sports Village within the village, where 10 local sports - muaythai (Thai boxing), krabi krabong (fencing with swords, clubs or other weapons), Thai swords, loop takraw, rowing, Thai kites, an in-sack run, saka (a game resembling backgammon), mak rook (Thai chess) and mak hoz (Thai draughts) - are performed.

Henrigue Cruz is loitering around the village and the Brazilian basketball player, who has been staying for a few days at the all-inclusive accommodation, has no complaints.

"Everything is good. They provide everything we want," said the 23-year-old sophomore from FTC University who is aiming at a gold medal.

Soccer players Stephen Lowry and Billy Brennan from Ireland, like Cruz, are impressed by the fully-equipped complex and spectacular organisation of the hosts.

"The facilities are good, the security is OK and there are a lot of shuttle buses," said Brennan, a sports management freshman from University College Dublin.

"People are very helpful and friendly. Thai food, especially spicy prawn soup, is good even though it's a bit hot," said Lowry, a business student of the University of Ulster Coleraine.

Lerpong Amsa-ngiam

The Nation

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