Pi Chaiyakul and Pawat Thaidit are familiar from the national team of Thailand. They both currently live and work in Sweden, where they were raised. For both players, floorball and the national team have helped them in the process of searching for their relatives in Thailand. Bangkok Post published their story back in November 2016 and now we will have a look on how they are doing these days.
Pi Chaiyakul (Stålberg) lives in Halmstad, Sweden and works as a student assistant at a secondary school. Pawat Thaidit (Robin Karlsson) lives also in Sweden, in Malmö together with his girlfriend and works as a site manager at the gym chain Fitness24Seven. Both players have represented the national team of Thailand at Men’s World Floorball Championships in 2016 and 2018 and at the AOFC Cup in 2017. In the national team Pi plays as a defender and Pawat as a forward.
Pi and Pawat were both adopted from Thailand and raised in Sweden. When they started the journey of finding their roots in Thailand, floorball worked as a facilitator. Now we’ll have a look on how floorball has helped them in this process and also how they started playing for the national team of Thailand.
How did you start playing floorball and where do you play now?
Pi: – Sport has always been a big part of my life. My parents have always supported us in being active, so I have played everything from table tennis to football and track and field. I started playing floorball at age 14 and now I play in the Halmstad floorball club, says Pi.
Pawat: – I played hockey from the start and really liked it. But when I turned 13, my neighbour who was a coach for a floorball team in Malmö asked if I wanted to join a cup. It was not difficult to accept such an opportunity and after that I completely stuck to floorball. Right now I’m playing for Ik stanstad.
When and how did you join the national team? Best memories and/or achievements in the national team?
Pi: – In 2015, I applied to the national team by my assisting coach Urban Rinefalk, seeking players to Thailand national team for World Championship qualifiers in Pattaya. I sent an email to him and we had telephone contact with each other. That same year I went to Thailand for a vacation with my family for 30 days. The best memory is the World Floorball Championship qualifications in Pattaya and the WFC in Riga (the first WFC for the country and for me). The other best memory is to win the Asian Championship in 2017 at home in Bangkok.
Pawat: – In 2016 I received a call from my old sports manager and he first asked if I was interested in starting to play for Thailand’s national team. At first I thought it was a joke but then after the second call and after searching for it on the internet I realised it was real. I realised that it was an experience I couldn’t say no to and maybe this just came once in a lifetime. I would already travel around Thailand and took the opportunity to train with the national team during the trip. Since then, Thailand’s national team has become like a family to me and I’m developing as a human being and also helping other teammates to develop down there.
– My best memory with the national team is when we qualified for the World Floorball Championships in 2016. It was truly totally unbelievable, lovely feeling. We trained hard for 1 month and we had never played with each other before. The players from Thailand really wanted to learn to play floorball and when the training was over, they learned both rules and how to shoot and pass. Seeing people who really want to learn the sport and then move on to such a big championship gave me tears of joy.
– I would like to thank everyone who works around the national team who has made this possible. AOFC is working extremely hard to reach the sport in Asia. Coach Kenneth puts down time and really brings out the national team for both boys and girls in big championships.
How did floorball help you to find your family members and influence the searching process?
Pawat: – Since I joined the national team it has changed my whole life. I came to Sweden when I was 3 years old and adopted. When I started playing for the national team I had never been to Thailand which meant that I got a completely different view of the country and the people I thought it would be. But it also made me want to look up my biological parents and I was asked if I wanted to be part of a TV program in Thailand and after all the help I received I could not say no. They started by interviewing Bangkok news papers and asked us about our background and why we just chose Thailand when we live in Sweden. This made them try to reach out to people in the country and maybe they would recognise our first name and last name. Unfortunately, they could not find my biological parents but it went better to my teammate Pi who found a large family in Thailand. I do not regret that I was trying to find and get that help and I am pleased that Pi has succeeded in finding a part of his family.
Pi: – Long history. To be able to play for Thailand, you need Thai citizenship and I didn’t have one. Instead, I had a Thai identity number. The problem was that my twin sister had the same identity number. So, the Thai floorball association helped me to search after my relatives and my twin sister. They did this so that I could get my identity number back. It started with us finding my twin sister and then getting back to Bangkok and doing a DNA test. This was done to demonstrate that we are twins and are related to each other. A few weeks later I got my citizenship ID card and passport, this was right before the World Championship Qualifications in Pattaya.
– In early March 2017, I went back to Thailand to participate in a TV program, “Wanteekoi”. The program helps people to find their relatives. I went there together with my mom, dad, twin sister and her children. There, I and my twin sister were in a TV studio for several hours and we got to see the process to find my family. At the end of the program, we met our biological dad and brother and sisters for the first time.
One thing is definitely clear. Both Pi and Pawat succeeded to find a family and that is the national team of Thailand.