Thai Volleyballers Chase Leicester Success to Same Magic Monk

Chao Khun Thongchai hands the same type of ‘pha yant,’ or spirit cloth, he presented to Leicester City players to Thailand’s national women’s volleyball team Monday at Wat Traimit in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Looking to capitalize on some of the same mojo that has propelled Leicester City FC from zeros to heros, the national women’s volleyball team today sought Olympic blessings from the same famed monk to bless the Leicester lads.

The national team Monday morning went to Wat Traimit where they received the same type of spirit cloth from Chao Khun Thongchai that the monk gave to Team Leicester, which is on the cusp of winning the English Premier League.

The volleyball team heads to Tokyo next week for the first round of qualifying matches for the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

Team captain Pleumjit Thinkaow said they sought a boost after seeing other sports teams succeed after receiving Chao Khun Thongchai’s blessing. The spirit cloth he presented them is known as pha yant, which are believed to confer mystical powers to their holders.

The assistant abbot of Wat Traimit, also known as Phraprommangkalachan, has traveled several times to King Power stadium in England at the invitation of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha to bless the players. As Leicester City closes in on the title, fans in Thailand have credited the monk with part of that success.

Asked whether the volleyballers will qualify for the Olympics, Chao Khun Thongchai didn’t hedge his response.

“Absolutely,” he said.

The team departs for Beijing on Thursday to practice before qualifiers get underway May 12 in Tokyo.

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