"Solid victory": Thailand’s golden taekwondo coach gets new name
The South Korean coach who steered Thailand to its first-ever Olympic gold medal in taekwondo has been granted a new Thai name at one of the country’s most sacred temples.
Choi Young-seok was given the name "Chatchai" by Somdet Phra Maha Rajjamangalamuni (Somdet Thongchai), the assistant abbot of Wat Traimit.
The naming ceremony took place on Thursday in the Bangkok temple famed for its Golden Buddha statue, Phra Phuttha Maha Suwanna Patimakon.
In attendance was Panipak Wongpattanakit, the taekwondo exponent whom Choi guided to Thailand’s only gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Also there to witness the honour granted to Choi was Taekwondo Association of Thailand president Pimol Srivikorn and Thailand taekwondo exponent Ramnarong Sawekwiharee.
The South Korean coach is in the process of achieving his long-held dream of becoming a Thai citizen.
“I want to be Thai and want to be known as a Thai Olympic medal-winning coach, not a Korean coach for the Thai national team,” he told reporters early this year.
The Thailand taekwondo team arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday (August 11) after self-isolating in Phuket for 14 days following their campaign in Tokyo.
Choi will submit a request to use his new name with Royal Thai Police on Friday. Chatchai means "solid victory" in Thai.