It’s unheard-of for competitive players to have serious pursuits outside badminton – but the Teeraratsakul twins are different. The difference is apparent not just in the way they carry themselves — with their distinct pop star looks — but in their attitude on and off court.
Still in the nascent stage of their badminton career, the twins – ‘EQ’ Panitchaphon and ‘Omo’ Pakkapon — are TV stars in Thailand, having featured in a drama series (Brothers, 2021) and a movie (Thesis, 2022). With hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok and Instagram, they are tasting celebritydom even as they are on the threshold of elite badminton.
Their off-court pursuits haven’t affected their on-court performances. Both were part of the Thai team that won the SEA Games team event last week after the team finished third in difficult Group A at the Thomas Cup. In both events, it was Panitchaphon who pulled off fifth match wins – against Indonesia in the semifinals of the SEA Games and Singapore in the Thomas Cup. His win over Singapore’s Joel Koh was one of the standout matches of the Thomas Cup, for he recovered from four match points down to win the tie for Thailand in front of his home crowd.
There was no trace of modesty as he put his win in perspective: “I just tried to show my potential to my fans. I wanted my fans to know a new generation is coming to replace the seniors.”
The twins – sons of former Thai international Anurak Teeraratsakul – were earlier doubles partners, but a coach suggested Panitchaphon’s switch to singles. Pakkapon is now with Peeratchai Sukphun and played second doubles in all three of Thailand’s ties at the Thomas Cup.
How are they able to pursue badminton and their acting career at the same time?
“Being a badminton player for the national team takes a lot of energy,” Pakkapon says. “There’s training in the morning and afternoons, so you do get tired. Acting is like a hobby, it doesn’t affect our game. We are serious about our badminton.”
Their father initiated them into the sport and shares his experiences with them. Having never played the Thomas Cup for Thailand, the proud father watched from the gallery as his two sons played out his dream.
“My father is very proud. He played international matches but he could never play the Thomas Cup,” Pakkapon said. “He was in the audience but he was hiding from us as he didn’t want us to see him and get affected.
“I’m very happy and very proud because not many players can play for Thailand. So we tried our best to make the team and the Thai people proud.”