GTG: Asia Initiative 3 – Japan Alliance

Ken, Payu, Yas, and Yusuke (from the left)

This past weekend, the TLA President Payu Nerngchamnong travelled to Japan to meet with the leadership of Japanese Lacrosse Association (JLA) in Tokyo, symbolically kicked start the 2012 season for Thailand lacrosse. Payu met up with the founder and the Executive Director of JLA, Yasuhiko Hayakawa, and JLA director Yusuke Sasaki, as well as Kentaro Shimizu. Ken is no stranger to TLA  as he officiate 3 games for Thailand in the last two years. Payu visited the JLA head quarters and met with the organizers and a dozen or so volunteers there, before heading to dinner with Yas, Yuseke and Ken.

Over dinner, the men discussed many issue regarding lacrosse in Asia as well as how JLA can be helpful to TLA further as Thailand enter it’s third year. They also shared their personal experience during the twenty years of developing lacrosse in Japan to where it is today, also exchanging ideas of how Thailand can grow even more domestically, and internationally. The meeting marked the first time the head of two program meet each other, in many aspect Payu viewed the meeting as meeting his “mentor” face to face for the first time.

Ken, Payu, Yas, and Yusuke (from the left)

It help further strengthen the relationship between Thailand and Japan lacrosse that’s already exist. Currently there are several former members of the Japanese National lacrosse team working, and playing in Thailand. The latest addition to the Thailand lacrosse family is Tetsuya Tsukada, the member of the Japanese National team at the 2010 World Game in Manchester. He recently join at Kohei Naoi and Yoshiro Suzumura at TLA weekly practice, and have been helping the Thai players developing their lacrosse skill further.

Tetsuya vs Kyle Sweeney at the World Game
Kohei, Payu and Tetsuya
The Japanese lax boys (and Ken) in Thailand

Even though in recent years many more lacrosse programs emerges in Asia, JLA is still a backbone of lacrosse in Asia. Japan finished forth at the World Game in 2010, but what they did off the field are the most admirable. Japan sent both monetary supports, clinicians, as well as referee (like Ken) to different parts of Asia to help the new development programs. Later this year, JLA will be sending a team to GTG Invitational, and the first ever Thailand Open lacrosse tournament in August. They’ll be playing along side other regional lacrosse programs, to help raise awareness of lacrosse in Thailand, and in Asia. Payu will be traveling to China, Hong Kong and  Malaysia in the next few months to gather more countries for the coalition. Watch this space for more update about GTG in Asia, and make sure to follow these Asian lacrosse program son Twitter here: