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16 Jul 2018 21:01
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    Thai cave rescue: Who are the boys at the centre of Thailand's dramatic cave rescue?

    Twelve Thai boys and their assistant soccer coach have been the focus of the world's attention since they first went missing 18 days ago. But who are the brave Wild Boars?

    Twelve Thai boys and their assistant soccer coach have been the focus of the world's attention since they first went missing 18 days ago.

    The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach had been exploring a cave in Thailand after soccer practice when they became trapped inside by monsoon flooding.

    It took a mammoth international rescue effort to finally free them, with the boys having to swim and dive through tight and dark passages.

    So who are the brave members of the Wild Boars soccer team?

    Who are the boys?

    Titan (Chanin Vibulrungreung)

    Age: 11

    Titan is the youngest in the team and has reportedly been playing football since the age of seven.

    "Mum and dad, don't worry about me please, I am fine. Please tell P'Yod, get ready to take me to fried chicken," he wrote in a letter to his parents.

    Mig (Phanumat Saengdee)

    Age: 13

    Mig is one of the team's defenders and wrote to his parents saying the Thai Navy SEAL divers were taking good care of him.

    According to a BBC report, the head coach of the team, Nopparat Kantawong, described Mig as bigger than other children his age, but agile.

    Dom (Dwangphech Phromtheph)

    Age: 13

    Dom is the captain of the Wild Boars team.

    He plays striker and dreams of going professional someday, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported he is also popular with girls and sometimes rambunctious.

    According to his girlfriend Nutchanan Ramkeaw, 13, he is afraid of the dark and sees cave trips as a challenge where he can be brave in a group, The Australian reported.

    While trapped in the cave, he wrote to his parents saying "please don't forget my birthday".

    Pong (Somphong Jaiwong)

    Age: 13

    Pong is said to have dreams of becoming a footballer for the Thai national team.

    His uncle told The Sun that Pong had been cheering on England in the World Cup and was pictured wearing an England top while waiting to be rescued.

    "He's football mad and spends all his spare time playing or watching," he said.

    Mark (Mongkhon Bunpeiyem)

    Age: 13

    He has been described by his teacher as a "very respectful and good child", according to a BBC report.

    In his letter to his parents, he asked his mother if she was well at home and told her to let his teacher know that he was fine.

    Tern (Nattawut Takhamsai)

    Age: 14

    Tern told his parents not to worry about him in the letter he wrote them while stuck inside the cave.

    The BBC reported that he wrote that he missed his parents and grandparents, but assured them that he could take care of himself.

    In turn, his parents replied that they were not angry at him and did not blame him for the ordeal.

    Adul (Adun Samon)

    Age: 14

    Adul was born in Myanmar's self-governing WA state and left his family behind to get a better education in northern Thailand, according to AFP.

    He is one of at least three boys, as well as their coach Ekkapol Chantawong, who are stateless and sought refuge in Thailand.

    Adul speaks English, Burmese, Mandarin and Thai and played an important role in the rescue by acting as interpreter for the British divers.

    "No need to worry about us anymore. I miss you all. I really want to get out so much. ??," he wrote to his parents.

    Bew (Aekarut Wongsukjan)

    Age: 14

    Bew is the Wild Boar's goalkeeper.

    He told his parents not to worry in his letter, saying "I have been gone for two weeks".

    "I will go back and help you with the shop when I can. I will try to go soon," he wrote.

    His parents wrote back "Daddy and Mommy miss you. Love you always."

    Note (Prajak Sutham)

    Age: 15

    In his letter, Note told his mother not to worry about him.

    "Please tell my teacher I love her. Love you, Mum," he wrote.

    Rinlinee Sombat, who works with Note's father, told the BBC he was a kind boy who takes care of his two-year-old sister, and enjoys playing with her young son.

    "He's a smart kid — when you teach him how to fix something in the garage, he'll learn how to do it after just one go," she said.

    Nic (Phiphat Photi)

    Age : 15

    Nick wrote to his parents that it was cold in the cave.

    "Mum and Dad I love you, and I love Nong [his sibling] too. If I can get out please take me to eat crispy pork. Love you Mum, Dad, Nong. ?"

    Tee (Phonchai Kumluang)

    Age: 16

    Before the ordeal, Tee had an argument with his girlfriend who did not want him to enter the cave due to unpredictable weather.

    Warangkana, 14, told The Wall Street Journal she sent him a series of texts that night asking "Are you back at home?" and "Do you have to be like this when you go to Tham Luang cave?".

    The messages became more frantic later that evening: "Where have you guys been? Dom isn't online either."

    "Nobody's online."

    Night (Phiraphat Sompheiyangjai)

    Age: 16

    Night reportedly went missing on his birthday and his parents said they were still waiting to arrange his party for him.

    "Please get out soon, and stay healthy," one parent wrote to him.

    The team was said to have entered the cave to explore and celebrate his birthday.

    Assistant coach EK (Ekkapol Chantawong)

    Age: 25

    Mr Ekkapol is assistant coach to the Wild Boars soccer team.

    He was orphaned at the age of 10 when disease claimed the lives of his parents and young brother.

    Until he was 12, Mr Ekkapol was cared for by extended family, his aunt Umporn Sriwichai told The Australiannewspaper.

    But she described him as a "sad and lonely" little boy, and at 12 he was sent to train as a monk.

    His Facebook page is full of photos of him with the boys that his relatives said he loves very much.

    Although he led the boys into the cave, the families said their sons were still alive only because of him.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Ekkapol denied himself food so the boys could have more, and kept them calm by teaching them meditation.

    When they ran out of water, he warned the boys not to drink the muddy floodwaters and to sip water dripping from the cave instead.

    From the cave, he wrote to apologise to the parents of the trapped boys. They responded, saying "Please don't blame yourself".

    "We want you to rest assured that no parent is upset or angry at you. Everybody supports you," they wrote.

    "Thank you very much for taking care of our children. You went into the cave with our children and you must get out with them. Take our children and yourself out with safety. We are waiting in front of the cave."

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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