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Publication Date : 02-09-2013
Thai boy magician Thirawat Kongnukul has won prizes at international contests for his illusions and magic tricks
In the last two months, 12-year-old Thirawat Kongnukul has waved his magic wand at two international contests and returned home with two much-coveted prizes.
His family is proud of his achievements and encouraging Thirawat to practice even harder with his magician tricks.
"I hope I can become a world champion one day," the schoolboy said.
Thirawat won second prize in July at the IBM Magic Convention 2013 in Arizona in the United States, in the category for 7 to 17 year-olds. Even though he competed against many older contestants, his "Smart Magic" show wowed the judges.
On August 5, he also won second prize at the Busan International Magic Festival in South Korea.
"I noticed his great potential right from his first class with me," said Sombat Chitmankongkul, alias "Mamada Thailand", one of the country's most famous magicians.
He pointed out that Thirawat was better at memorising and imitating actions than most children of his age.
"He's very good with classic acts or those moves with balls, cards, and finger stalls," Sombat said.
Thirawat started having magic lessons at the age of seven.
"I decided to enrol him in the course after his aptitude-test results showed he was good at imitating, learning and memorising," his mother Paijit Kongnukul said. "I wanted to encourage my son to spend his free time on constructive activities rather than games or drugs."
Five years ago, the course cost 48,000 baht (US$1,492), after which her son has to pay an additional annual sum of 4,500 baht ($140).
"The cost is quite high, but I am willing to pay because I want to support my son in what he does well," his mother said.
Thirawat's remarkable skills have paid off. He has already snatched 15 awards from magic contests in Thailand and beyond.
At school, his friends are always eager to see him suddenly produce flowers out of thin air, among other tricks. Thirawat also performs as a magician at various events earning between 4,000 baht ($124) and 20,000 baht ($621) for each performance.
Now a Mathayom 1 student at Satriwitthaya 2 School, Thirawat has to travel far to get to the International Academy of Magic where he practises his magic under the supervision of Mamada Thailand. However, that has not discouraged him from wanting to develop his skills.
"I have to practice after school when I'm preparing myself for an international contest. I ride the bus from my school to my practice sessions [at the International Academy of Magic] almost every day," he disclosed.
Thirawat said that sometimes his practice sessions can drag on for up to eight hours.
"But my efforts have been rewarded. The awards have filled me with pride and happiness," he said.