Mong Thongdee, who won Thailand paper plane championship nine years ago when he was 12, won the Thailand paper plane championship in the general individual category at Muang Thong Thani today.
Mong, whose struggle for Thai citizenship has been making headlines for years, will represent Thailand in a paper plane competition in Japan next year – a repeat of his achievement nine years ago when he competed in Chiba prefecture for Thailand and came back with a third prize.
Mong was born to a family of illegal Myanmar migrants and has been classified as a stateless person. Mong became a mini-celebrity almost 10 years back when he won a national paper plane flying championship but promises of citizenship given by government authorities and politicians at the time have never been kept.
During the competition today at Muang Thong Thani, the biggest challenge was for the competitors to use paper imported from Japan to make their planes. The paper was imported from Japan by the Paper Plane Association of Thailand to test their skills in folding of paper planes. The contestants were not aware of the source and the type of the paper prior to the competition.
The competitors went through two rounds of flying their paper planes. In the first round, Mong’s plane was airborne for 7.93 seconds and 17.17 seconds in the second round, averaging 12.55 seconds, making him champion in the general individual’s category.
Mong later told the media that he didn’t expect any award as this was his first competition in ten years. He said he hoped he would be granted Thai citizenship before his journey to Japan.