They changed lives and won hearts

Pleumjit Thinkaow, Wilavan Apinyapong, Nootsara Tomkom, Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong and Amporn Hyapha have sparked volleyball dreams that have rippled across the world and inspired a generation of fans.

Coming from a country with a rich volleyball history in Southeast Asia, six women came together to chase their dreams and become the country’s sporting heroes.

What they lacked in height they more than made up for with creativity, technique, speed, teamwork, heart and passion.

Their two-decade-long careers were filled with some highs and lows, but the pinnacle of it all would be the values of friendship, determination, courage, inspiration and respect that powered Thailand to success.

Before the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, fans were already looking forward to seeing the new Thailand team, as the veterans had announced their retirement previously and little hope was left of seeing all of them play together again.

Then an unexpected event happened when the new team had to withdraw because of COVID-19 issues. However, the Thailand Volleyball Association responded quickly to the situation and called in their veterans, including Pleumjit, Wilavan, Nootsara, Onuma, Malika and Amporn.

A case of a sad situation turned into a positive opportunity with the announcement that the Fab Six were back to represent Thailand for one last time at the VNL. The news sent fans into a jubilant frenzy.

Their success cannot be measured by wins and losses, but by how they made an impact on the sport. Their great contribution to the VNL and the sport over the years have inspired and moved people.

The stories about their humble beginnings, their remarkable experiences and their ascent to glory truly deserve recognition. Their dedication is testament to their success, and for that, the volleyball community is pleased and grateful to have witnessed these fabulous Thai women.

Nootsara Tomkom puts the meaning of the sport simply, “Volleyball is my happiness.”

“Volleyball has been my life for more than 20 years. I am proud to say that it has become part of our lives.

“I truly enjoyed the time I spent with my teammates as we have played our best and enjoyed the game. My wish for our young players is to play like us and make our fans proud.

“And to the fans, thank you for all the support you have given us.”

Those feelings were mirrored by her teammates.

“Thank you for the applause,” Amporn said.

“Thank you for fighting together with us,” Malika said.

“Thank you for being with us,” Onuma said.

“Thank you for all the encouragement that made us who we are today,” Wilavan said.

“On behalf of the Fab Six, throughout the past 20 years, thank you everyone. We are grateful to be part of the volleyball family,” Pleumjit ended.

June 20, 2021 marked the end of the Fab Six era but the beginning of their legacy and of Thailand’s new journey.

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