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Healing wheels put pensioner on road to recovery

China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-08 09:40
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Nongluck Chairuettichai, aka Jeab, speeds down an empty Bangkok highway on her longboard. The 63-year-old mother-of-two reckons taking up the sport 'helped tremendously' with her recovery from breast cancer. "When you skate every day, you can feel your body becoming stronger and healthier," she said. [Photo/Agencies]

As the oldest member of Thailand's longboard national team, 63-year-old cancer survivor Nongluck Chairuettichai is showing that age is just a number in a sport usually dominated by teenagers

Cruising on an empty Bangkok highway, 63-year-old Nongluck Chairuettichai-the oldest member of Thailand's longboard national team-says taking up the sport set her on the road to recovery from breast cancer.

Diagnosed a decade ago, Nongluck-who goes by the nickname Jeab-had surgery and chemotherapy, her body withering to skin and bones.

"But when you skate every day, you can feel your body becoming stronger and healthier... it helped with recovery tremendously. Most importantly, it's fun," Jeab tells AFP, as she strapped on her knee and elbow pads.

Jeab first picked up a board out of curiosity, after watching her son Soteera whirl around the park.

While most novices initially tremble on the board, Jeab's good balance helped her push off with confidence.

"She's always been the adventurous type, so I was not surprised at all that she wanted to longboard," her 37-year-old son says.

The mother-of-two said she became "addicted" to the sport, which is typically dominated by teenage boys. Longboarding is a more speed-focused version of skateboarding that uses a longer platform and bigger wheels.

She quickly became known in the capital's small longboarding community and was competing in tournaments within months.

Last year, Jaeb qualified for Thailand's national longboard team-the oldest member ever to join the squad.

"She is an inspiration to a lot of people, especially girls," team director Apichat Rutnin told AFP.

"Now you can see more girls, from youth to adults, have started to be involved in board sports."

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