Srisaket named the best pro athlete

Srisaket named the best pro athlete

Boxer says badge will heal his broken heart

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, front row third left, and Panipak Wongpattanakit, front row centre, pose with other award winners and organisers at yesterday's ceremony. Somchai Poomlard Somchai Poomlard
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, front row third left, and Panipak Wongpattanakit, front row centre, pose with other award winners and organisers at yesterday's ceremony. Somchai Poomlard Somchai Poomlard

WBC super-flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai said Monday he hoped the best professional athlete of the year award he received from the Sport Writers Association of Thailand (Swat) would help heal his "wounded heart".

The 31-year-old boxer, whose real name is Wisaksil Wangek, got the award for the second time in a row.

Major award winners

Male amateur: Kosuke Hamamoto (golf)
Female amateur: Panipak Wongpattanakit (taekwondo)
Professional: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (boxing)
Male youth: Kunlavut Vitidsarn (badminton)
Female youth: Atthaya Thitikul (golf)
Male disabled: Pongsathorn Pantib (deaf karate-do)
Female disabled: Amnuay Vejvithan (wheelchair badminton)
Team: National women’s football squad
Coach: Chokchai Pisitwutinan (boxing)
Association: Badminton

In Monday's ceremony at the Arnoma Grand Bangkok hotel, golfer Kosuke Hamamoto and taekwondo fighter Panipak Wongpattanakit won the best male and female amateur awards respectively.

Shuttler Kunlavut Vitidsarn and golfer Atthaya Thitikul claimed the male and female youth honours respectively.

The association also honoured HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana with a special award.

The Princess, who represented Thailand in equestrian along with her horse Prince Charming, was a member of the dressage team that finished second at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.

The selection committee was chaired by Excise Department Director-General Somchai Poonsawat, a devout sports fan who is also technical chief of the Thailand Boxing Association.

"This award encourages me and should be able to help heal the wound in my heart," said Srisaket, who looked sad.

"I don't want to talk about this. I should return to the training camp soon. I will try to bring happiness to the Thai people."

Patchareewan Kanha, his live-in girlfriend for 14 years, announced her split with the champion last week.

Patchareewan, widely known by her nickname Kay, claimed it was an "amicable" affair and the breakup was by mutual consent.

His manager Surachart Pisitwutthinan said the fighter, known in Thailand as Srisaket Nokornloung Promotion, now felt better but may need more time before he trains again.

Srisaket won this year's award for his two impressive wins. After stunning then-unbeaten Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez with a majority decision at New York's Madison Square Garden in March last year, Srisaket scored a fourth-round knockout win against the Nicaraguan at StubHub Center in California in September. He then beat Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada at the Forum in California in February.

Athletes' performances from May last year to earlier this month were taken into consideration by the Swat committee.

Japanese-Thai golfer Kosuke won the individual gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia and claimed both individual and team titles at the Putra Cup, among other achievements.

Taekwondo star Panipak was successful in five tournaments last year, including the World Grand Prix Finals, SEA Games and World University Games.

Badminton player Kunlavut is the first Thai shuttler to win the men's singles title at the world youth championships.

Teenage golfer Atthaya became the Ladies European Tour's youngest-ever winner last July when she won in Pattaya. A few weeks later, she got gold medals in the SEA Games individual and team events.

The 15-year-old prodigy secured a dramatic wire-to-wire victory at the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific championship by winning a four-way play-off earlier this year.

Other award winners include Kularbdam Sor Jor Piak-Uthai (best Muay Thai fighter) and the women's national football squad (best team).

The women's footballers secured their second ticket to the World Cup thanks to their fourth-place finish at the recent AFC Women's Asian Cup.

The Badminton Association of Thailand received the best association award.

In the disabled athlete category, Pongsathorn Pantib (deaf karate-do) and Amnuay Vejvithan (wheelchair badminton) took the male and female honours respectively.

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