Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes What's happening in Asian America? Get a daily email to stay informed, educated, and entertained.
Thai Olympic athlete Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit, who won the gold medal in the women’s 49 kilograms (108 pounds) Taekwondo category, shared an emotional moment with her father upon her arrival at Phuket International Airport.
Golden hero: Wongpattanaki, 23, was greeted by a welcoming crowd that included supporters, sports officials, the governor of Phuket and her father Sirichai Wongpattanakit on Monday, reported the Bangkok Post.
- The Taekwondo athlete kneeled in front of her father before placing her gold medal around his neck.
- The proud father responded by throwing his fist into the air as the crowd cheered before placing it back around the champion’s neck.
- She also paid respects to her coach, team and sports officials, who aided her during her Olympic bid.
- The star athlete said she appreciated the warm welcome she received and considered it to be “the happiest moment” of her life.
When in Phuket: Wongpattanakit, who will stay in Phuket for two weeks under the tourism agency’s “No Quarantine” Phuket Sandbox scheme, will be traveling around the island while promoting it as a tourist destination, reported The Phuket News.
- “I want to enjoy the delicious seafood here, as I know it is very famous. I want to eat seafood, grilled meat – and cookies and crepes!” she was quoted as saying.
- A parade in Wongpattanakit’s honor is scheduled on Aug. 5, allowing the Thai public to extend their congratulations and celebrate with her.
- Thai fans have also taken to social media to congratulate the athlete for bringing pride to her country.
Making history: Wongpattanakit’s thrilling 11-10 victory over Spanish Adriana Cerezo Iglesias on Saturday brought Thailand its first gold in the Tokyo Games and 10th in history, as the country has previously accumulated five Olympic gold medals in weightlifting and four in boxing.
- Before her Olympic gold, she has won multiple gold medals from major international tournaments such as the Youth Olympics, the Asian Games and world championships.
- Wongpattanakit also won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She said she plans to continue training and hopes to compete again at the next Olympics in Paris in 2024.
Featured Image via The Nation Thailand