Olympic gold medallist Prapawadee
receives a warm welcome from enthusiastic fans at Chiang Mai International
Airport, Friday, August 15, 2008.
Thailand’s Olympic heroine Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon received a great
welcome from her fans when she flew into Chiang Mai International Airport
last Friday evening, but a planned procession from the airport and a
reception party at a nearby hotel were put on hold after the Thai Amateur
Weightlifting Association president Bussaba Yodbangtoey said that the
Olympic star was too tired to face the media.
At Chiang Mai airport Prapawadee, otherwise known as Nong Kae, was greeted
by Narong Chavasint, the President of Chiang Mai University along with a
crowd of students and well-wishers as well as a Thai Lanna local dance
troupe. Outside a group of motorcyclists on choppers prepared to escort Nong
Kae around the city but they were left disappointed as she was whisked away
in a car to the nearby Empress Hotel along with other members of the Thai
Earlier Prapawadee had said she would not accept any invitations from TV
shows or sponsors until all the Thai squad had returned from Beijing.
“I am sorry for not being able to take up your invitations,” she said to
reporters. “Hopefully, all of you will understand. Some Thai competitors are
still vying for glory in the Beijing Games. It is better to wait and
celebrate together,” she added.
Chiang Mai is the official training base for Thai weightlifters and played
host to the World Weightlifting Championships last year.