Huay Pakoot Sports Tournament
This month was Huay Pakoots annual sports tournament which is held in the village every year and can only mean one thing, getting active and getting sports gear on! The tournament is attended by twenty other local villages and the sports that are hosted at this event are football, volleyball and tah croch (a traditional Thai sport). GVI donated a generous contribution towards the tournament which allowed it to be so successful.
When GVI staff and volunteers first heard about the tournament a few months ago, everyone was very excited and enthusiastic about getting involved. The girls wanted to get involved with the volleyball even though most of them had never even played before but training schedules where made to practise and although everyone soon realised they were doomed from the beginning, they were just out to have fun! As the project has a low number of male volunteers at the minute, the boys on project where invited by the locals to join their team.
The teams practised for a few days before the tournament began (unlike the locals who had been practising for months) and few staff and volunteers even practised volleyball with the local girls of Huay Pakoot who had entered their own team and attempted to teach the volunteers some of their volleyball skills. When the team shirts arrived the day before the tournament (yellow and blue, the Huay Pakoot colours!), it became clear that there was no way of backing out and so there was a mixture of fear and excitement on project but everyone was looking forward to what the next day would bring.
The first day of the tournament arrived; some volunteers helped out with cooking the lunches whilst everyone else made their way up to the school where the tournament was being held and watched all the people from the other villages turn up. Once everyone had arrived, the tournament kicked off with the football matches and we watched Huay Pakoot’s three teams go to victory with GVI as their cheer leaders!
In the afternoon, the volleyball began and the Huay Pakoot local girls where one of the first teams to play, again showing their skills and winning the match. Soon after it was GVI’s turn to play and they were faced with their opponents, a group of eleven year olds who as it turned out were very good and ended up winning the match. GVI had one more match that day which was also a loss but the local teams all seemed to be doing very well and progressed through.
The next day the team had one more match to redeem their name which again was another lose and so GVI was knocked out of the tournament which meant everyone spent the remaining time as cheerleaders for the local girls volleyball team and the local boys football teams which all seemed to be doing very well. The tah croch also began this day with some of our mahouts and locals playing but unfortunately they didn’t get too far.
At the end of the day, the football team with some of the male volunteers had to go into penalties and one of our volunteers was requested to take one. Everyone was cheering him on, both locals and non-locals but the pressure was too much and he missed.
On the last day of the tournament we had the semi finals and the finals. It began with the volleyball where the Huay Pakoot girls won their semi final game and sailed through to the final only to be defeated at the last post but they where a well deserved second place. Next was the semi-finals of the football where the two Huay Pakoot teams played against each other and the stronger team won and went through to the final.
The final was very tense and ended with penalties but in the end Huay Pakoot was the winning team with everyone playing extremely well. The tournament lasted for three days and it was a huge success all around. Everyone had fun both watching and taking part and you can really see the togetherness of the local communities and how they all work together to make things such as this happen without any disagreements.
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