Taekwondo stars Panipak Wongpattanakit and Pongsaporn Suwitthayarak received the best female and male amateur athlete awards respectively at a ceremony to mark National Sports Day at the Indoor Stadium Hua Mark on Saturday.
Srisaket stunned Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez, who was then considered the best pound-for-pound fighter, to win his WBC super-flyweight title with a majority decision following a bloody encounter at New York’s Madison Square Garden in March.
It was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history as the Thai was a 14-1 underdog.
Not surprisingly, a considerable number of critics said the win was a fluke.
However, the 30-year-old Thai, whose real name is Wisaksil Wangek, silenced his critics by securing a fourth-round knockout win over Gonzalez in a rematch at StubHub Center in California in September.
“I am very proud to receive this award,” the champion, who is known in Thailand as Srisaket Nakornloung Promotion, said at Saturday’s function chaired by Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.
He said he would return to the training camp to prepare for the defence of his title against Juan Francisco Estrada, the top-ranked challenger from Mexico, in February.
Ariya, who was runner-up to Srisaket in the best professional athlete category, won two titles this year.
She claimed the Manulife Classic in June for her sixth LPGA Tour crown and became Thailand’s first-ever No.1 golfer in the world.
The 22-year-old also won the LPGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship last month.
Panipak won five times at three World Grand Prix tournaments, SEA Games and World University Games.
She was selected as the best female amateur athlete ahead of weightlifter Thanya Sukcharoen and windsurfer Siriporn Kaewdungngam.
Pongsaporn won the world title in beach poomsae (dance) and gold medals at the SEA Games and Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
World junior badminton champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn took the best male youth award while golfer Atthaya Thitikul took the female title.
Mai Klaharn, whose fight name is Phetmuangchon Por Suanthong, was named the best Muay Thai star.
Watcharaphol Wongsa (boccia) got the best male disabled athlete award while the female award went to Saysunee Jana (wheelchair fencing).
The national women’s futsal team won the best team award, while badminton mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai took the doubles award.
Futsal coach Udom Taweesuk was named the best coach in amateur sports, while water polo coach Daniele Ferri won the best foreign coach award.
The Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) was labelled the best association while its president Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul the best administrator and its official Nahathai Sornprachum the best referee.
In all, the BAT and its officials got five awards.
“Our athletes had better results this year. This proves that the association is going in the right direction,” said Patama, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.
“We have achieved this because of everybody at the association. We will continue to work hard.”
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