Friday, September 14, 2007

Thailand's female boxers

NERN MAPRANG, Thailand: "To be a good girl," says Pannipa Chaiyated, a demure 13-year-old, "you must have manners, speak politely and help with the housework."

That's when she's not slugging her opponents in the ring.

In a country where femininity is highly prized and girls are often told by their parents to be discreet, obedient and gracious, female boxing is now a surprise hit.

Chanin Preechakul, founder of the Women's Thai Boxing Club of Thailand, estimates that more than 100 boxing camps around the country train girls, with a high concentration in Thailand's poor, rice-farming heartland.

"Ten or twenty years ago, there was a saying that any female boxer who had three matches in one year was very lucky," Chanin said. "Now there are matches every weekend."


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