Thai princess going for gold at Asian Games

Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:36am EDT
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By Julian Linden

INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - The Thailand team for the 17th Asian Games includes a real-life princess with a down-to-earth approach to life and a heart set on winning gold.

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, the granddaughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has been chosen to represent her country in equestrian, riding a horse called Prince Charming.

The 27-year-old has already competed at the Asian Games before, but in a different sport. She was a member of the Thai badminton team at the 2006 Games in Doha, where she spurned any special treatment by opting to stay in the athletes' village.

Although she has ridden horses since childhood, Princess Sirivannavari only started showjumping seriously a few years ago, while she was studying fine arts and working as a fashion designer in Paris.

She made the Thailand team for last year's South East Asian Games, where she finished 10th in individual dressage and fifth in the team event, and has set her sights on winning gold in Incheon even though the competition is harder.

"I am well-prepared for the Asian Games," she told the Bangkok Post.

"I have trained hard since the end of the SEA Games with the aim of representing Thailand again at the Incheon Games.

"It will be tougher than the SEA Games and I will do my best."   Continued...

Thai princess Sirivannavari Nariratana (L) poses with the Thai Equestrian team during the opening ceremony of the Equestrian competition at  27th SEA Games in Naypyitaw December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/Files