“I hope to one day be a top athlete!” – Mai, 11.“
I grew up without a father figure because my dad has been in prison since I was very young. I’ve always loved football but I didn’t have anyone to play with in my family. There is a football field near where I live, and whenever I had the chance to go out, I would stand by the sidelines and watch the older boys play.
My name is Anusorn Prabkraisi. I am 11, and my friends call me Mai. When I was 6, I joined the Special Olympics Young Athletes program in Thailand. I was then a student at the Trang Special Centre, for children with special needs. I loved it because I could do simple sports activities like throwing and catching a ball, climbing, crossing obstacles, and so on. My teachers said I had great hand-eye coordination and was a pro at throwing and catching the ball!
I continued the activities at home with my family, using simple items to create weights or obstacle courses. It gave me a good foundation at a young age, to grow strong and develop sports skills.
A few years later, I joined the Nakorn Srithammarat Special School and was thrilled to be selected for the football team. During lessons, I’m usually very quiet, but when it comes to football training or physical education classes, I come alive! I love sports. It makes me feel so energetic and free.
At home, my mum encourages me to play. She gets me plenty of balls to kick around – big ones and small ones. My mum doesn’t know much about football but she always tries her best to cheer me on during training, directing me to go this way and that. She knows I love football attire, and has bought me many sets. I love them so much that I even wear them to bed!
My coach started me on bocce training recently to help me focus. I’m been doing really well. My coach believes that I have the potential to be a top athlete at my school. I hope that when I grow up, I can be a national athlete and one day represent Thailand in football!