Coach Choi adds Thai nationality to Olympic taekwondo fame
National taekwondo coach Choi Young-seok was among 175 individuals granted Thai citizenship, in an announcement published in the Royal Gazette on Thursday.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha signed the order granting his new nationality in February, seven months after the 47-year-old coach led Thailand to its historic first taekwondo gold medal at the Olympics.
Coach Choi’s Thai citizenship was effective as of October 19, according to the announcement.
Born in South Korea on April 30, 1974, Choi began his career in Thailand 20 years ago when the Kingdom’s taekwondo athletes were barely known on the international stage.
Over the next two decades, he built Thailand into a taekwondo superpower, culminating in glory at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics when Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit won the Kingdom’s first taekwondo Olympic gold in the 49kg class.
Back in August, Choi was given the new Thai name of “Chatchai”, which means stable victory.
Choi has said that he has wanted Thai nationality for almost 10 years, a dream he has finally achieved with support from the Taekwondo Association of Thailand.