Taekwondo gold medalist wais father’s feet

One of the world’s biggest sporting events, Tokyo Olympics 2020, is taking place from 23rd July 2021 until 8th August 2021. While postponed due to the situation, it seems like officials were still able to give many athletes the much-deserved opportunity to compete on the world stage.

In the spotlight is Ms. Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit, a gold medal-winning member of the Thai Taekwondo team. After winning the nation’s first gold medal at the Olympics, this Thai gold medalist came back to Thailand where she immediately did a wai – a Thai gesture where we place our hands together – at her father’s feet.

While the wai is a symbol of reverence, prostrating yourself to wai your elders’ feet is an even grander demonstration of respect.

Let’s see how her victorious monuments were celebrated.

Inspiring Thais:

Gold medalist wais her father’s feet to show respect and gratitude 

Upon Tennis’s arrival at Phuket International Airport on 26th July 2021, she was welcomed by her fans and loved ones. Upon seeing her father, Mr. Sirichai, the gold medalist then knelt on her knees and did a wai at her father’s feet. This grand demonstration of gratitude and respect was followed by an even greater one: Tennis presented her gold medal to her father.

Mr. Pimol Srivikorn, Taekwondo Association of Thailand’s president, Mr. Narong Wunsiew, Phuket’s Governor, her coach, and teammates were among those who congratulated her at the airport, according to Bangkok Post.

Panipak wais her father’s feet at Phuket International Airport
Image credit: Bangkok Post 

Besides the gold medal that Tennis received at the Olympics, her win brought her ฿19,000,000 (~USD 577,534) from the National Sports Development Fund and other private companies.

Image credit: @panipank2540

Tennis is a two-time Olympic medalist

The young padawan won her first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 for women’s Taekwondo on 24th July 2021 in a match against her Spanish counterpart, Ms. Adriana Cerezo Iglesia.

Whilst indeed an amazing feat, Tennis just keeps impressing us. Turns out that this isn’t her first Olympic medal – she won a bronze medal for the same category at the Rio De Janeiro Olympics 2016, as reported by the Olympics.

Panipak in red armour during her tournament in Rio 2016
GIF: Taekwondo alfat7

Furthermore, Tennis doesn’t plan to stop just yet.

“If I am still healthy, I would like to participate in the next Olympics in France,” she shared with The Nation Thailand.

Thai Olympians achieving their dreams

Tennis’s ambitious goals and demonstrated hard work towards achieving her dreams will surely inspire many others. She’s one of many Thai Olympians who are showing us what working towards your dreams really looks like.

Her achievements and grace are very well received, especially during times like this, when we all need that extra bit of hope.

Cover image adapted from: @panipank2540 (Left), Bangkok Post (Right)

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