Rescue chief, footballers hand game-changer award to PM

Rescue chief, footballers hand game-changer award to PM

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha joins in a selfie photo with the Wild Boars footballers and their assistant coach, Tham Luang cave rescue chief Narongsak Osatanakorn and Khunying Pattama Leesawastrakul, at Government House on Tuesday. (Govt House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha joins in a selfie photo with the Wild Boars footballers and their assistant coach, Tham Luang cave rescue chief Narongsak Osatanakorn and Khunying Pattama Leesawastrakul, at Government House on Tuesday. (Govt House photo)

Tham Luang cave rescue chief Narongsak Osatanakorn and the Wild Boars football team visited Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday to present him with their Asia Game Changer Award, which they said is for the whole country.

Phayao governor Narongsak, the 12 young footballers and assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawong paid a courtesy call on Gen Prayut at Government House to hand the award to him.

Gen Prayut gave them souvenirs and thanked them for bringing fame to Thais and the country. The team had been internationally recognised. All countries praised the rescue efforts of several government agencies and the civilian volunteers.

He asked all 13 to think of those who risked their lives to rescue them from the flooded cave.  

Mr Narongsak, the former Chiang Rai governor who oversaw the cave rescue, said the award presented by the Asia Society was for the country and should serve as an inspiration for all people. If people changed themselves to help other people and live for others, the world would be a more livable place, said Mr Narongsak, who accepted the 2018 Asia Game Changer Award in New York on Oct 9 on behalf of all involved.

(The Asia Society gives Game Changer Awards each year to "individuals, organisations, and movements that have inspired, enlightened, and shown true leadership". They are not presented to countries, and are awarded irrespective of nationality.)

The Wild Boars made their first US TV appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show, a popular daytime show. A walk-on guest was a huge surprise for the Chiang Rai team.

The 12 Wild Boars footballers and their assistant coach were trapped in the cave by a flash flood during heavy rain on June 23, and finally brought out on July 10 after a huge operation involving many foreign volunteers with long-earned expertise in cave diving and rescue. One diver, a former Thai navy Seal, died during the operation. 


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