The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and the Thailand Volleyball Association (TVA) organised a farewell match to pay tribute to their ‘7 Legends of Volleyball’, namely Pleumjit Thinkaow, Wilavan Apinyapong, Nootsara Tomkom, Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong, Hyapha Amporn and Wanna Burkaew on Sunday at the famed Huamark Indoor Stadium.

The event was organised in honour of the seven players who had a huge impact and influence in sports in Thailand in the last 20 years. The seven Thai volleyball legends participated in the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, where Pleumjit, Wilavan, Nootsara, Onuma Malika and Amporn played their last international match together, and Wanna was on the bench as a member of the coaching staff.

SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee said that the event was a fitting tribute to the seven former national players after their participation in the VNL, when they stepped up in place of the younger players who were infected with COVID-19.

Governor Yodmanee led the festivities at Huamark Indoor Stadium, including an exhibition match won by the 7 Legends 25-18 against the Thailand League All-Star team. Wilavan Apinyapong, who did not play the match, took the opportunity to announce her pregnancy on this occasion.

TVA president Somporn Chaibangyang and AVC secretary general and their long-time mentor Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai handed out souvenirs and flowers to the honourees.

“I never imagined that we would see this day when these 7 Legends would bid farewell to the Thailand national team and their fans. I will always keep those love and well wishes in my memory. Now it’s your turn to say goodbye,” started Kiattipong in his heartfelt speech.

“We have been together through thick and thin and shared a lot of love for each other. In the last two decades we were bit players who had big dreams to fulfil. We had faith in each other, we feared nothing, and we were determined to reach great heights. I must admit that I did not want to see this day come. But I want you to know that I believe in all of you. With your great experience, I know that you will be successful in whatever you do for your families and communities. Good luck to you all.”

Their coaches, teammates and fans also sent their best wishes through a video tribute.