SINGAPORE: Ask a Thai athlete if he or she knows “Mr Dakdae” and the answer is probably ‘yes’
It's not hard to spot him at sports venues where Thai athletes are contending for a gold medal.
Dressed in traditional Thai costume, with glittery headgear to boot, Bancha Khamthong, who goes by the nickname Dakdae, is a familiar figure at the SEA Games.
The 49-year-old can be seen swaying to the music and responding to laughter from the crowd by twirling his paper umbrella.
He sees himself as the professional cheerleader for the Thai contingent.
“I went for my first SEA Games in 1995 in Chiang Mai.
“Over the last few years, I attended international competitions abroad, with the support of the Sports Authority of Thailand. Before that, I used to go at my own expense.
"I am trying to promote friendship among the people. Win or lose, it doesn't matter," said the seasoned entertainer, who has in the past attended Asian Games and the Olympics just to cheer on his countrymen.
"I hope everyone can feel the friendly spirit of the Thai fans through me," said Bancha, who appears on Thai television as a comedian and singer.
For this SEA Games, he has been spotted at various venues cheering on his team.
“It's not tiring when we see our athletes win gold,” said the smiling Bancha, who even designs his own costumes.
The Star Online