University offers 13 'Wild Boars' full scholarships; draws mixed response

University offers 13 'Wild Boars' full scholarships; draws mixed response
PHOTO: Facebook/Akkapol Chanthawong

Naresuan University has sent a letter to the governor of Chiang Rai governor, offering full scholarships to all the 13 Wild Boars Academy footballers who were recently rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave.

The letter signed by Naresuan University President, Professor Kanchana Ngourungsi and sent on July 10, after the completion of the rescue mission, said: "Naresuan University is delighted to offer full scholarships to all 13 Wild Boars Academy footballers if they wish to complete their bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Naresuan University, Phitsanulok."

"The decision was made by top executives of our university," Sirimas Senarak, director of General Affairs Division, Naresuan University, confirmed in a phone interview. 

The offer to waive all tuition fees for them received a mixed response from the public.

Some netizens said the 13 footballers were survivors, not heroes.

ALSO READ: Thai cave rescue: These are the heroes who made it all possible

They believed the reward should go to volunteers who had helped save the 13 lives while some online users urged Naresuan University to instead take care of the poor students in their campus.

Responding to the criticism, the director said, "Naresuan University has been taking care of our underprivileged students financially. We never abandon them. But the decision to grant full scholarships to the Wild Boar team was already made by our executives."

First footage shows how trapped footballers were rescued

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    The Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page on Wednesday released a video clip that shows for the first time how the 13 Mu Pa Academy football team members were evacuated from the Tham Luang cave.

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    The 12 young footballers and their 25-year-old assistant coach were trapped in the cave since June 23 after flash floods blocked their exit.

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    They were rescued after a marathon operation involving Thai and foreign experts. The mission ended on June 10.

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    The video showed the boys being extracted from inside the flooded cave amid darkness in what was described as the first time such a method was used in a rescue operation.

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    The footage gave an insight into a complex operation that had numerous divers using pulleys, ropes and rubber piping to take the stranded footballers to safety.

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    The 12 boys rescued from a Thai cave were sedated and passed on stretchers along the twisting, narrow passageways of the Tham Luang complex, a rescuer said on Wednesday (July 12).

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Thai cave rescue: Boys share details of their traumatic experience

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    During a national TV broadcast they smiled, joked and showed solidarity with one another, as they shared details of their traumatic experience inside the flooded Tham Luang cave complex.

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    During their TV news conference, the boys said when they entered the cave on June 23 they had planned to only be inside the cave for about an hour after football practice.

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    But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.

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    The boys had no food and survived only on water. They took turns digging at the cave walls, hoping to find a way out.

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    "This experience made me stronger and taught me not to give up," said the team's youngest member, who goes by the name Titan.

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    The boys will eventually spend time as novice Buddhist monks to honour the dead diver's memory, their coach said on Wednesday.

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    The Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital on Saturday released a video clip on its Facebook page showing the 12 Mu Pa (Wild Boar) Academy footballers and their coach thanking everyone for their concern and help in rescuing them. Chanin Wibulrungruang (Titan), 11, said his condition was returning to normal and he would like to eat sushi. He thanked the Navy SEALs for rescuing him and thanked everyone for all the moral support.

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    They also conveyed that they were in good health and looked forward to tasting their favourite foods. The 12 youths and the coach were seen in a row of beds in the three-minute clip.

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    Pipat Phothi (Nik), 15, said he felt in good health. He said he would like to eat rice with crisp fried pork, and rice with stew red pork. He thanked the rescuers and everyone for the moral support.

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    Piraphat Sompiangchai (Night), 16, said he felt in good health and he would like to eat pork pan chabu very much. He thanked everyone for all the moral support.

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    Adul Sam-on (Dul), 14, said his condition had improved and he would like to go to a KFC shop. He said he was now killing time by drawing pictures of his friends and Coach Ek in the cave.

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    He also said in English: “I’m Adul. I’m very fine. Thank you for helping us. Thank you very much.”

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    Ekkapol Chanthawong, 25, or Coach Ek, said he his condition was improving and he now felt strong. He would like to eat fried rice with crisp pork. He said he would like to thank all the people and all the ministries and Navy SEALs as well as the doctors for helping the team.

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    Pornchai Khamluang (Tee), 16, said he would like to eat fried rice with crisp pork and would like to thank everyone for all the moral support.

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    Sompong Jaiwong (Pong), 13, said he was strong now. He would like to eat curry basil rice with fried egg. He thanked everyone for all the moral support and thanked the international community for helping the team. “Thank you,” he said in English.

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    Mongkol Boonpiam (Mark), 13, said he was now strong and could even run. He would like to eat a piece of steak. He thanked everyone for all the moral support and promised to fight on

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    This handout video grab taken from footage released by The Thai government public relations department (PRD) and Government spokesman bureau on July 11, 2018 shows members of the "Wild Boars" football team being treated at a hospital in Chiang Rai.

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    The 12 boys rescued from a Thai cave were passed "sleeping" on stretchers through the treacherous passageways, a former Thai Navy SEAL told AFP on July 11, giving the first clear details of an astonishing rescue mission that has captivated the world.

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    Doctors have said they are in good physical and mental health -- a view backed up by the footage made available by the Thai government showing them behind quarantine glass in bed wearing smocks and facemasks, flashing peace signs and doing the traditional "wai" greeting.

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    They do not look shell-shocked or stunned despite a potentially harrowing 18 days inside a dank, dark cave followed by a risky rescue operation that was dubbed "Mission Impossible".

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    A screen grab shows people looking through glass at the boys

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