Photo: Paul ZimmerFormer player Paradorn Srichaphan (THA)
Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan, who won five singles titles in an outstanding career, will represent Tennis as an Athlete Role Model at the second Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Nanjing, China on 16-28 August. The 2014 Youth Olympic Tennis Event, for players aged 18-and-under, will take place on 17-24 August at the Tennis Academy of China.
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 re-introduction at the London 2012 Olympic Tennis Event. A maximum of two boys and two girls per country can be selected, with entries confirmed in June.
Srichaphan, 34, who retired in 2010, always took great pride in representing his country. A two-time Olympian, he was selected to carry the flag for Thailand in the Athens 2004 opening ceremony. Srichaphan was a member of Thailand’s Davis Cup team for nine years, playing 24 ties for his country, and has also been Davis Cup captain and coach.
The Athlete Role Models programme will be implemented by the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (NYOCOG) as part of the Culture and Education Programme. The Athlete Role Models are Olympians who exemplify the Olympic values, both on and off the field of play. During the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, they will connect and talk to the athletes and other young people in person and via social media to share their life stories and experiences taking part in competitions.
“Paradorn Srichaphan is an excellent choice to serve as an Athlete Role Model,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “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 and the other Athlete Role Models to promote the event."
Thirty-nine countries took part in the inaugural Youth Olympic Tennis Event in Singapore in 2010, which saw Juan Sebastian Gomez (COL) and Daria Gavrilova (RUS) crowned singles champions, and Oliver Golding (GBR) and Jiri Vesely (CZE), and Tang Hao Chen and Zheng Saisai (CHN) win doubles gold.
The Nanjing Youth Olympic Games will welcome around 3,800 athletes and officials from the 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Young athletes - aged between 14 and 18 years - will compete in 28 sports.