Patty, Panipak among Thai sports stars honoured on National Sports Day
Thailand’s taekwondo star Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit was handed the “best female amateur athlete of the year” award by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday. She was being honoured for bringing home a gold medal from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Her head coach Choi Young-Seok also won the “most valuable person” award.
Paphangkorn “Patty” Tavatanakit, 22, won the “pro-athlete of the year” award for winning her first LPGA Major championship at the ANA Inspiration 2021 in California earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Nattapol Saenkla received the best Muay Thai fighter award.
Applauding the fact that Muay Thai has been fully recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Prayut said his government will work on making the sport more widely recognised on both domestic and international fronts. He also said the government will try to get Muay Thai included in the 2028 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles.
A ceremony celebrating Thai athletes and sports personnel is held every year on National Sports Day on December 16, with 39 awards in 13 categories being handed out.
His Majesty King Rama IX won a gold medal for sailing at the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games (now the SEA Games) on December 16, 1967, and the date has been marked as National Sports Day since 1986.
This year’s event was held at the Bangkok Indoor Stadium in Hua Mak. Also attending was Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.