Thai Olympians at Tokyo 2020 

All eyes have been on Tokyo Olympics 2020 recently. With so many talented competitors from numerous countries, you may be wondering how Thailand’s representatives are doing this year. 

So, we’ve listed 7 Thai Olympians that have made history at the Tokyo Olympi cs 2020.

Check out our other Thai-focused pieces: 

1. Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit – Thailand’s first Taekwondo gold medalist

Trying to master Taekwondo can be challenging, as the sport requires high amounts of strength, flexibility, balance and focus. So, imagine how much it takes to snag a gold medal at the Olympics.

This is Tennis’ second Olympic medal; she won a bronze medal in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
Image credit: @panipak2540

Well, Panipak “Tennis” Wongpattanakit can tell us all about it – the taekwondo competitor won Thailand’s first Olympic gold medal in this year’s games

Tennis’ gold medal is the Taekwondo Association of Thailand’s first. 
GIF: @panipak2540

Tennis has also gone viral after giving her father a wai at Phuket International Airport to show her gratitude for supporting her dreams. 

Tennis at Phuket International Airport
Image credit: Bangkok Post 

2. Savate “Sam” Sresthaporn – oldest athlete on Thailand’s team 

Millennials and Gen Z-ers seem to always be worrying about being “too old” to start anything due to the high levels of competition in just about every activity. 

Apart from being a full-time pilot, Sam managed to qualify to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Image credit: @sam.savate

However, this 57-year-old (read: young) Olympian, Savate “Sam” Sresthaporn, proved that there’s no such thing as “too old”. 

At this year’s games, he finished in 17th place in the men’s Trap Shooting event.

Image credit: @sam.savate

Sam didn’t start shooting until he was 44 – and here he is 13 years later, representing Thailand in the Olympics.

3. The first Thai equestrians to qualify for Olympics

Let us introduce you to Thailand’s first equestrians to compete at the Olympics. 

Image credit: Khaosod English

The Olympic equestrian team consists of Arinadtha Chavatanont, Weerapat Pitakanonda and Korntawat Samran. 

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the trio managed to rank at #15 in Equestrian Team Eventing.

Image credit: The Nation Thailand

In addition to tremendous talent and dedication, the team showed resilience at the games. The three individuals faced unforeseen challenges – like one of their horses refusing to jump – as well as minor injuries, according to Khaosod.

4. Issaranuudom Phurihiranphat – youngest member on the Thai Olympic team

At 17 years old, Issaranuudom Phurihiranphat is the youngest member on Thailand’s Olympic team. 

Image credit: สถานเอกอัครราชทูต ณ กรุงโตเกียว ประเทศญี่ปุ่น – 在東京タイ王国大使館

He was inspired to become a shooter after watching James Bond movies and has been shooting since he was nine years old. 

Image credit: Bangkok Post

Issaranuudom competed in this year’s Rapid Fire event and finished in 20th place on 2nd August 2021, reported Olympics.

5. Orasa Thiangkathok -Thailand’s first Olympic Canoer 

For the first time, Thailand qualified for a spot in the Olympic canoeing category. 

The nation was represented by Orasa Thiangkathok in the 200M Canoe Sprint, an event that has only recently been recognised by the International Olympic Committee. 

thai-olympians-tokyoImage credit: Daily News

In the games, the athlete managed to make it to the quarterfinals, where she finished in 25th place

Image credit: Pattaya Mail

While ranking 7th for the Asian Games in 2018, she ranked 12th in 2017 for the Canoe Single 200m event in the World Championships. 

6. Kieran Tuntivate – Thailand’s first Olympic 10K runner

Kieran Tuntivate is the first runner to represent Thailand in the Men’s 10K event.

Image credit: @kierunner

This Thai-American runner finished the Men’s 10K final race at 23rd on 30th July 2021.

Image credit: @kierunner

In 2019, the Harvard graduate snagged the title of Most Outstanding Track Performer at the 2019 Ivy League Outdoor Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reported Olympics.

7. Sudaporn Seesondee – first Thai female boxer to win an Olympic medal

Sudaporn Seesondee is the first Thai female boxer to bring home an Olympic medal, according to Bangkok Post.

Image credit: Bangkok Post

She received a Bronze Medal after her final fight with Ireland’s Kelli Anne Harrington.

In addition to being an Olympic medalist, this Buriram native is considered to be the nation’s most experienced female boxer, reported ASBC News. She began boxing 15 years ago, and has competed in over 150 competitions since then. 

Image credit: Bangkok Post

One of her most impressive moments was when she won a gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games in 2019. 

Role models for achieving dreams

Kudos to these Thai athletes who demonstrated that it’s possible to achieve one’s dreams with perseverance, even in difficult circumstances.

We’re excited to see more Thai athletes compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where we’re sure these athletes will defend their titles. 

Who do you look up to especially? Give us your thoughts.

Cover image adapted from: International Canoe Foundation (Left), @panipak2540 (Centre), @kierunner (Right)

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