Connect with us

Phuket

Olympics: Medalists come home to heroes’ welcome

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Rousing welcome
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Thailand’s Olympic athletes returned home to a resounding heroes’ welcome yesterday after capturing three medals – including two silver – at the London Games.

The Kingdom finished 57th out of 205 countries that competed in the sporting extravaganza.

The stars were boxer Kaew Pongprayoon and weightlifter Pimsiri Sirikaew, who took silver in the light-flyweight 49kg class and the women’s 58kg division, respectively, while Chanatip Sonkham claimed a bronze in the women’s 49kg taekwondo event.

Even before the Thai Airways flight from London landed at about 3pm, a huge crowd had gathered at the arrival terminal, reminiscent of scenes four years ago when Thai athletes flew back from the Beijing Games with four medals, including two gold.

It was raining heavily yesterday when TG917 landed with the country’s Olympic sporting stars on board. Thousands of fans, including 200 from Kamphaeng Phet – boxer Kaew’s hometown – who arrived on three buses, and 20 of Chanatip’s classmates from Satree Phatthalung School, made it to Suvarnabhumi Airport earlier to cheer their heroes.

On arrival, the athletes were taken to the airport’s VIP Lounge. On seeing his mother Mali, Kaew rushed to prostrate himself in front of her. It sparked an emotional scene when both mother and son hugged each other. Mali gave her beloved son kisses and Kaew did likewise.

“I did it, mum. I did it. I love you the most, mum,” Kaew said, after his silver-medal bout early on Sunday (Mother’s Day).

“Winning no gold does not matter. You already did your best, son,” Mali told Kaew.

Ichitan green tea billionaire Tan Passakornnatee was there, and presented a 10 million cash cheque to the boxer, as promised.

When the Olympic team walked out to the arrival lounge, a major celebration broke out, with drums being beaten and hordes of fans and reporters greeting them, some carrying bouquets of flowers.

With garlands placed around their necks, the athletes seemed dazed by the grand reception. And the big crowd burst into excited screams as Kaew and Chanatip showed up, with fans shouting their heroes’ names and their chants echoing in the terminal.

Weightlifter Pimsiri, who flew back earlier, and other Olympians, including swimmers and badminton players, also went out to greet their team-mates.

When all the athletes took to a stage, with the three heroes flashing their medals, the audience broke into thunderous applause.

Generous sponsors started to present cash incentives and various rewards to the medalists, plus others who finished in fourth place or performed well at the Games.

From then, it was a carnival-like atmosphere. The athletes waved to the crowd, while being taken on a tour in open-top buses through the streets of Bangkok.

The bus parade to cheer the top athletes’ success was wet until the rain surprisingly stopped moments before the celebration procession arrived at Victory Monument. There, tens of thousands of supporters lined the route, shouting “Thailand! Thailand!”

Many took photos of the sports stars on their mobile phones.

Kaew stood on the open-top bus, waving happily to the large crowd. Pimsiri and Chanatip did the same from separate convertible Peugeot cars.

Traffic at Victory Monument stood still as a large number of passers-by stopped to wave and shout to the athletes, but the mood was cheerful. Drivers were all smiles, and many got out of their cars to wave to their heroes.

Heading to Siam Paragon, the procession received an amazing greeting from supporters lining both sides of the street in central Bangkok.

At the shopping mall, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra congratulated them and organized a public function to acknowledge the Olympians’ performances.

The prime minister presented certificates to all 37 Thai athletes who took part in the Olympics, which ran from July 27 until Sunday. Cash incentives from the National Sports Development Fund totaling 20 million baht were also given away to the three who returned with medals, as well as the staff coaches and their sports associations.

Each of the two silver medalists got 6mn baht, and the bronze medalist received 4mn.

Thai medalists from the recent Asian Beach Games in China also took part in the party hosted by the prime minister. They got 26.6mn baht in awards from the government.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Kanchanaburi15 mins ago

Kanchanaburi school director found dead in canal

Pattaya2 hours ago

Small children in Pattaya learn to get help when locked in hot cars

Chiang Mai2 hours ago

Heavy rains collapse part of Chiang Mai’s ancient city wall

Sponsored2 days ago

From regulation to cannabis delivery, here’s what you need to know about cannabis in Thailand

Events2 hours ago

6-hour whiskey drinking contest draws criticism

Pattaya4 hours ago

Pattaya official urges mayor to expand legal nightlife zone

Thailand4 hours ago

Things you can do in Thailand during the rainy season

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Indonesia4 hours ago

Earthquake in Indonesia felt throughout southern Thailand

Patong5 hours ago

Foreign women rescued from rip current in Patong

Thailand21 hours ago

Woman smashes up her 1.5 million baht car over feud with Ford Thailand

Bangkok22 hours ago

1.8 billion baht in donations at the Erawan shrine in 2022

Phuket23 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 4 million tourists in 8 months

Tourism24 hours ago

Carnival Magic theme park opens in Phuket to fanfare

Video1 day ago

Ask the Thais | Stereotypes, Racial Profiling, and Discrimination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Thailand watching BQ.1.1 variant as Covid rules ease

Thailand1 day ago

Military conscription in Russia could benefit Thailand’s economy

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending