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31 Aug 2009

Thai boxer faces 3-month ban for posing in gay magazine

As a result of the ban, Olympic medalist Worapoj Petchkhoom will have to sit out of the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos in December.

Bantamweight boxer Worapoj Petchkhoom, who brought home a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is the middle of a controversy in Thailand after appearing on the cover of the July edition of Stage, a gay lifestyle magazine.

Worapoj Petchkhoom is one of Thailand's most popular and best known sportsmen after winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Above: Worapoj (in red) at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Quoting the Thai-language Khaosod newspaper, Muaythai Magazine reported that the 28-year-old 2012 London Olympics hopeful has been banned from amateur boxing for three months by the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT) as a punishment for modeling for a gay magazine.

The report quoted ABAT president General Taweep Jantararoj as saying at an Aug 26 press conference that that the ban will bar Worapoj from representing Thailand in the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos at the end of this year.

Since the matter was reported locally, Worapoj has said that he regards the images to be “sporty” rather than obscene; and is not gay.

Taweep agreed that although the images which show the boxer clad in his underwear are not considered obscene, he has tarnished the reputation of the national athletes.

According to online reports, Worapoj said that he was paid B15,000 (US$440) and did not know that the magazine was aimed at the gay market.


Reader's Comments

1. 2009-08-31 21:43  
I dont see this is a huge problem...i pity him! :( banning him isnt fair
2. 2009-08-31 21:59  
It's sad...
3. 2009-08-31 22:16  
I would like to know if the magazine in question was marketed to women, would the same punishment have occurred?
4. 2009-08-31 23:14  
.... that is so unfair'
5. 2009-08-31 23:21  
nonsense....i think thailand more liberal about homosexual....n kathoey.....
6. 2009-08-31 23:45  
its not like he is totally nude. furthermore, i dont find that it is a crime to want to earn more livelihood when there it is just a harmless posing. A boxer in thailand earn very little compared to those inaffluent countries. it is just discrimination against orientation as well as financial status
7. 2009-08-31 23:56  
What about the person who became a Muay Thai boxer ,about whom a film was made ? I hope that Fridae and other media will follow this up to find out in what way the boxer has " tarnished the reputation of the national athletes ". Is it the ' moonlighting ' as a model or the location of the picture ?. Can athletes in Thaiiland disclose their sexuality >without adverse consequences ?
Nice looking guy !!
8. 2009-09-01 00:09  
hi well im from canada and i think most gay canadians laughing at thai boxing officials banning thai boxer because of exposure in gay magazine.
i think thailand is 100yrs behind the times not civilised yet possibly because of military style government how sad!
is certainly not good attitude to promote tourism to come to their country!
9. 2009-09-01 00:59  
Does Thai Government realize that one of their biggest revenue come from their famous gay scenes? This is ridiculous.
10. 2009-09-01 02:50  
Such is the contradictory nature of Thailand.

The Ministries have to have SOMETHING to poke their nose into. How else could they justify their existence?
11. 2009-09-01 05:51  
As Thailand becomes more "westernised", the same ole same ole problems of imported fundamentalism will start to creep in.

By banning a celebrated medalled Olympian, they are doing more damage than good. Penny wise pound foolish.

I agree with #3 Jakarta; I sincerely doubt any ruckus would have had even arisen had he appeared in a "normal" straight magazine; eg, InStyle, Men's Health, Vogue...etc. The fact that these underpaid bureaucrats felt he tarnished the image of athletes shows they discriminate against gays. Maybe they resent him for reminding them that, he can cos he's hot and they can't cs they're not. :P

Worapoj should migrate to Singapore where he would have had been paid half a million sing dollars for a silver medal under the Excellence in Sports Scheme, not to mention many more to come mutually. You see, everything in Singabore is buying and selling. One "supreme foreign talent" in exchange for 50 commoner Singaporeans. Deal or no deal? :)

Comment edited on 2009-09-01 05:53:55
12. 2009-09-01 05:57  
Perhaps smart photographers will find this man and offer him an alternative living. He could model successfully for many health and fitness mag's.
13. 2009-09-01 07:09  
What can we do about it?
14. 2009-09-01 09:07  
Even if he poses nude in a gay magazine, it is just an inspiration or motivation for us to engage in sports to be healthy.
15. 2009-09-01 09:33  
16. 2009-09-01 09:35  
so much glum news these days... anyway he will be fine... in other news, I was totally bummed Gary Siow missed my Polo Match in Singapore a couple of weekends again-- but then again my Hard Working Dad missed my all state swim team competition when I was in High School-- you get over these things... some good news is that my investment in the production company that produces is Glee is doing really well... pick yourself up and watch it guys... it starts 9/4 on FOX... (Glee on Fox on Twitter)... finally my Michigan little cousin Taylor Lautner is doing really well (gosh, he is reallly my cousin); Holland Michigan guys rock! He's coming to Shanghai with my little bro Mike soon and I am getting the twins ready for the upcoming frenzy before our trip to Tibet. Don't forget to watch Glee guys.. its fun and it is winning all kinds of GLAAD awards:)
17. 2009-09-01 09:37  
I live in Thailand and have been here almost 8 years. You see this irrational behavior all the time from the bureaucrats. They tell you there is free speech, they allow ladyboys to be tolerated and when someone has their picture taken for a magazine that "they" perceive as different from mainstream, they ban people of fine them or ostracize them. This man is a champion and should be held up as a role model no matter what his sexual preference.
Someday Thailand will learn that suppression of freedom only makes people more frustrated.
I hope he fights this ruling and wins!
18. 2009-09-01 09:45  
@16 - you'll drown under a ton of requests for taylor lautner's email address in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... :)
19. 2009-09-01 09:57  
#17...don't we see this irrational behavior everywhere? Plus, no matter how open an entire nation is, I think it depends on basically who you're representing within that nation.

While a nation's populous may be liberal per se, it is not always reflected by the governance of low level public and private institutions.

Take the American education institutions.

Remember the Fratmen.tv incident with the two college wrestlers? Both were expelled.

How about that teacher who posed in Playgirl to the point that the parents raised hell? Re: Julian Fantechi

Even a nation like Japan isn't spared. Look at it's sports institution.

And remember Kazuhito Tadano, the Japanese baseball player?

If he was never informed that his picture would be placed in a gay magazine, then he should definitely sue. However, I hope he just takes it in stride because, considering the picture, he's not being obscene at all.

In that sense, I think the ABAT President should reconsider his decision.
20. 2009-09-01 14:16  
I think Thai officials need to put more time and energy into arresting and prosecuting pedophiles in Thailand.
21. 2009-09-01 14:27  
Its just politics......in such a "manly" environment posing for a gay magazine is just not well received......if the gay society would support this guy now in an productive way, I am sure some of his poorly paid colleagues would follow his example and the politics were forced to change.
22. 2009-09-01 14:35  
i hate this news...
23. 2009-09-01 15:05  
Write to the homophobic General of the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand c/o Athletic Associations/Organizations, National Federations, 154, Rama 1 Road National Stadium BANGKOK , THAILAND and also send a copy of your protest letter to the International Amateur Boxing Federation at: International Federations, POBox 55, 1001 LAUSANNE , SWITZERLAND.
Homophobia should have no place in sport and bigots must be shown for what they are.
24. 2009-09-01 17:31  
sports administrators all over the world are some of the most bigotted, irrational and naive people you could ever meet
25. 2009-09-01 17:38  
One has to ask how many of the members of the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand read gay lifestyle magazines?
26. 2009-09-01 17:39  
thats not good..
27. 2009-09-01 18:53  
Too bad. He could've brought more medals for Thailand this December in Laos SEA Games.
28. 2009-09-01 19:22  
Thailand has always presented contradictory faces regarding gay sentiments. They enjoy the gay trade and tourism and possibly even encourage it; their people are accepting of gays, but their official governance and policies discriminates against homosexuality.

They are like ass-pimps who are homophobic but know that gay prostitutes bring them good money. In my opnion, their hypocracy brings shame to their country, not their modelesque athletes.
Comment edited on 2009-09-01 19:25:33
29. 2009-09-02 00:49  
30. 2009-09-02 17:24  
can I ask again.? Was it the moonlighting (moonlighting=taking a paid job without original employer's permission ) that got him suspended or appearing as a fantastically handsome hunk in a gay magazine ? Does anyone know ? Lets have the facts up straight ( excuse the expression ) before we storm the bastille , naked, to rescue this cute guy..
31. 2009-09-02 20:23  
i dont care if you gonna hate me for my comment but all i can say is..... YUMMY! yay!
32. 2009-09-02 23:16  
33. 2009-09-03 09:45  
Thailand politicians are just traditional minded - that men must be 'men' so the pic compromised what's 'manhood' in Thai culture. Just a lot of tradional bullshit mentality! But his bulge is wow!!!!
Comment edited on 2009-09-03 09:46:56
Comment #34 was deleted by an administrator on 2009-09-04 01:27
Comment #35 was deleted by its author on 2009-09-04 00:53
36. 2009-09-04 00:53  
anti gay !
Comment edited on 2009-09-04 00:55:43
37. 2009-09-05 06:36  
well, the people that banned the boxer can probably be found in a toilet in the main bus station sucking dicks and cheating on their wives, and pretending they "are normal". Give me a break.
38. 2009-09-05 12:31  
I find it so immature on the part of the decision makers who decided for the ban. Nothing in his conduct had any impact on his fighting skills and integrity in the honour and spirit of the competition and his sense of fairplay and ethics about it. For mere photography posing - wherever the pics might be published - is akeen to being a dramatist and acting- albeit as a gay role-- are the decision makers going then to ban a fighter for such skills and day jobs as he may find fitting to earn his keep in decent honest living ??! Thailand really ought to rethink its international and image policy towards the reality of modern living and lifestyle !! Be keeping up to times with the non- prejudicial attitude towards gays which is the sure ways of civilised Nations before She can claim Her place amongst enlightened people.

It is all the more sad that the Nation has fallen so far lagging behind times since the Nation was led in history by its enlightened monarch His Majesty King Mongkut and His Majesty King Chulalongkong as leaders amongst Asian countries then as far as cilvilisation was concerned.
39. 2009-09-14 16:49  
MANNNNNNNN he's a hottie, may be influential Thai's should concern them selves with putting to an end the sexual explotation of their young by foriegn tourists if they REALLY want to be 'moral' and do some thing truly meaningful to preserve the 'values' of their nation by supplying better education and job prospects, but I suppose the kick backs the politicians and police receive would be just too hard to part with.
40. 2009-09-14 23:22  
US$440 for a ban from the Olympics?
What a waste..
I've always thought Thailand wasn't that strict on issues such as homosexuality but i guess i'm wrong.
Fancy throwing away a potential Olympics silver medal just because someone posed and took a few non-sexual shots, i lol-ed.

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