Jai, Panipak, Ariya bag major awards
Youngsters Kunlavut and Atthaya honoured by sport writers
published : 21 Jul 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Cyclist Jai Angsuthasawit, taekwondo fighter Panipak Wongpattanakit and golfer Ariya Jutanugarn won the major awards from the Sport Writers Association of Thailand on Saturday.
Jai and Panipak were named the male and female amateur athletes of the year respectively, while Ariya received the best professional athlete award.
Jai and Ariya were not present at Saturday's ceremony at the Arnoma Grand Bangkok as they are competing overseas.
Jai became the country's first ever Asian Games gold medallist in track cycling after a photo-finish in the keirin event last year.
Panipak, the world's top taekwondo exponent in the 49kg division, also won gold at the 2018 Asian Games. She was also a winner at the 2019 world championships.
Panipak, 21, is considered one of Thailand's best hopes at the 2020 Olympics although she still has to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
After receiving the trophy yesterday, Panipak thanked parties concerned for giving "a country's girl" the chance to become a sporting star.
"I will do my best [to win gold] at the Olympics," said Panipak, who won bronze at the 2016 Olympics.
National taekwondo coach Choi Young-Seok was named the coach of the year, while the Taekwondo Association of Thailand got the best association award.
Ariya, 23, won three LPGA tournaments last year, including the US Women's Open for her second major crown.
She became the first player to sweep all LPGA major awards of the season, including the player of the year, Race to the CME Globe that comes with a US$1 million bonus, money title, and Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
Golfer Atthaya Thitikul, left and taekwondo star Panipak Wongpattanakit.
Badminton star Kunlavut Vitidsarn claimed the male youth award, while golfer Atthaya Thitikul took the female youth award.
Kunlavut, 18, won his second world junior title last year.
Atthaya, 16, was a champion in the mixed team event at the 2018 Youth Olympics.
The Ratchaburi native also won the 2019 Ladies European Thailand Championship in Pattaya beating Esther Henseleit of Germany by five shots.
The women's volleyball squad were selected as the team of the year for winning silver at the Asian Games.
Worawut Saeng-ampha (boccia) and Kwansuda Puangkijja (taekwondo) were named the best male and female disabled athletes respectively.