“I felt that the King was always with me,” said Tanongsak, who visited Bangkok’s Grand Palace on Tuesday (Oct 25) to pay his respects to His Majesty, who passed away on Oct 13 – coincidentally Tanongsak’s 26th birthday.
Tanongsak, who is the only Thai man to win a World Superseries Premier tournament, has been widely appreciated for his decision to hold the King’s portrait aloft and place the Denmark Open winner’s trophy on the floor during the award ceremony.
The unseeded Thai defeated sixth-ranked Son Wan-Ho of South Korea 21-13, 23-21 in Sunday’s final.
“I put the trophy on the floor because it is not as important as the portrait of the King,” said Tanongsak.
Tanongsak, who won his first Grand Prix Gold title at the Thailand Open earlier this month, said that before leaving for Denmark, he was physically prepared but was deeply saddened by the passing away of the King.
“Like all the Thais, I was left bereaved by the death of the King,” Tanongsak said.
“I just kept thinking that I need to do my best for the country and also for the King.
“Finally, I did it. I am really happy. Every time I play, I always think of the King.
“I want to dedicate this win to him. I wanted to come back to pay respects to the King.”
After the Denmark Open win, he withdrew from two tournaments in France this week and in Germany next week to return to Thailand to pay his respects to the King.
“We will be more committed to do more for the King and the Thais,” said Tanongsak, who ended Thailand’s 38-year men’s singles gold medal drought at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
Tanongsak is expected to move up from 18th to ninth spot in the world rankings and also climb from 26th to 15th place on the Destination Dubai list.
He needs to be in the top eight to earn a place at the US$1 million World Superseries Finals in Dubai from Dec 14-18.
He has two events to play before the Dubai Finals – the $700,000 China Open from Nov 15-20 and the $400,000 Hong Kong Open the following week.
Tanongsak also plans to compete in the All Thailand Open, where the winner receives the King’s trophy, from Nov 28-Dec 3.
Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand, said: “We are planning to approach Misbun Sidek [former Malaysian shuttler] to coach Tanongsak.”
Patama on Tuesday presented a photo of the King playing badminton to Tanongsak upon his return from Copenhagen.
“This shows how important a role the King played in the development of badminton,” she said.
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