Over the past two years, Petchyindee Academy has unleashed its stellar stable of Muay Thai athletes onto the global stage for martial arts.
But now, the famed Bangkok gym is unleashing its generosity across Thailand.
Petchyindee Academy manager Nuttadaj Vachirarattanawong, who is better known as “Sia Boat,” announced on his Facebook page that his world-famous camp would donate 450,000 baht (nearly US$14,000) to gyms in Thailand that have temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a time for everyone to help each other. I couldn’t just stand still and let the boxing camps and the boxers struggle to fight this alone,” he explains.
“Originally, we chose 45 gyms that were affiliated with Petchyindee, but there was a void we couldn’t deny. We needed to help as many gyms as we could because, once we decided to do this, we had to do our best.”
The legendary camp, which is home to the likes of ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy, exceeded its expectations.
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Together with his father and founder of Petchyindee Academy, Virat Vachirarattanawong – and other members of the Muay Thai community – they went beyond their original pledge of 450,000 baht and donated an impressive 620,000 baht (nearly US$19,000).
The donation will help gyms in rural Thailand pay for electricity, food, and clean water during this time of crisis.
Petchmorakot, who got word of his manager’s kind gesture while riding out the pandemic at his home in Ubon Ratchathani, was humbled by the news.
“I’m happy and proud to have a manager like Mr. Nuttadaj, and for all the good he is doing for the Muay Thai community,” the reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion states.
“It is important because right now, the gyms in the countryside can’t do anything but sit and wait. They need support. These small gyms in Isaan are the beginning. It starts from here.”
Petchdam, who also left the Thai capital for the rural countryside, echoed his sentiments.
“We all have to work together,” the flyweight offers. “If it wasn’t for the small gyms in Isaan, there wouldn’t be any new stars of the sport. We rely on each other.”
As the martial arts world patiently waits out a pandemic that has brought the globe to a standstill, “Sia Boat” remains optimistic that we can, and will, get through this.
“In the end,” he says, “the only thing that will allow us to overcome this crisis is unity and cooperation.”