Thai taekwondo star Panipak Wongpattanakit's family received 11 complimentary tickets from local residents in Hangzhou, allowing them to see Wongpattanakit's triumph in the women's 49kg title at the Asiad.
HANGZHOU, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- For Thai taekwondo star Panipak Wongpattanakit, her victory in the women's 49kg category at the Hangzhou Asian Games had a significance beyond the gold medal itself, especially when her family was fortunate enough to secure 11 complimentary tickets from local residents to witness the event.
Before the final showdown against China's Guo Qing, Wongpattanakit's family anxiously gathered near the venue's ticket office, including a baby, having traveled a long distance from Thailand to show their support.
"My father and I always come to support her, and for the Asian Games, we have a whole family of 12 people here to cheer for her," Wongpattanakit's older sister remarked.
Upon their arrival at the venue, they headed straight to purchase tickets, only to find out that all tickets had been sold, leaving them disheartened.
The excitement in the audience was palpable, given Guo Qing's status as the heavy favorite for the title. When the staff at the taekwondo venue learned of their predicament, they arranged for a local media outlet to cover the story.
In a mere two hours after the story went public, 11 generous local individuals came forward and donated their tickets as a gesture of support to Wongpattanakit's family.
"We can always find opportunities to attend future games, and we wanted to prioritize our overseas guests. This is also a way to express our support for the Asian Games," explained one of the ticket donors, Yan Yan.
"With so many family members traveling a long way, it would have been a regrettable experience for them to miss the game. We understand this sentiment, so everyone was eager to assist," Yan added.
When Wongpattanakit's sister received the tickets, tears of gratitude welled up. "I truly appreciate all the help. I am so happy," she expressed.
In the end, with her family in attendance, the Thai athlete proudly stood atop the podium.
Following the awarding ceremony, Wongpattanakit conveyed her appreciation: "I am deeply grateful to the people who provided this opportunity for my family to be here and support me. This means a lot to me, and I am sincerely thankful for the warmth and enthusiasm of my Chinese friends."