Gold medalist pays solemn respect to her father as she makes her triumphant return to Thailand

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The Gold medal win last Saturday has given some encouragement to many ordinary Thais who feel deeply the sense of helplessness that pervades the kingdom with a mounting virus toll and crisis that the government seems unable to control. The fact that the win came with the Thai athlete’s last kick against her Spanish opponent in the 49 kg Taekwondo competition final, makes the feat all the more inspiring.

23-year-old Thai gold medalist and national heroine Ms Phanipak Wongpattanakit bowed low at her father’s feet once she landed on the ground at Phuket International Airport on Monday morning to show respect in the traditional Thai custom. She was greeted by high profile officials including a cabinet minister and the governor of the island province as she disembarked with her teammates on a 14-day holiday availing of the Phuket Sandbox tourist offering. Her triumph was made complete when it was announced that she would be receiving ฿10 million from the Sports Authority of Thailand as a reward for her historic, last gasp win in Tokyo on Saturday.

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Gold medal winner 23-year-old Phanipak Wongpattanakit during her moments of triumph in Tokyo last Saturday after winning the Gold medal in the women’s 49 kg Taekwondo competition. (Inset) She paid her respects at Phuket International Airport on Monday morning to her father, Sirichai Wongpattanakit. She was welcomed home by the Governor of Phuket, Narong Woonsiew and cabinet minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on behalf of the Thai public, inspired by her historic achievement.

Amid the gloom and crisis facing the country in recent days over the virus, came uplifting and exciting news from the Olympic Games in Tokyo when 23-year-old Thai athlete Phanipak Wongpattanakit won Gold on Saturday the 24th July in a last gasp kick with just 7 seconds to spare against Spanish competitor, 17-year-old Adriana Se Rezo Iglesias.

She was competing in the 49kg weight Taekwondo final.  ming at such a dark time for the kingdom, the boost to morale from the Gold medal win among the public has been all the more potent.


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