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Feature: Thai boxer ends career with gold medal in Beijing Games
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16:30, August 24, 2008

"Finally, he got it, for which he has waited for 12 years," said excited Sasithorn Jongjohor, wife of Thai Olympics gold winner Somjit Jongjohor, after her husband beat Cuba's Andris Laffita Hernandez in Beijing late Saturday.

In the last match of Somjit, the 33-year-old boxing star showed a class of his own in the flyweight division.

On Saturday, he continued his overwhelming advantage on the boxing stage. He trounced the 30-year-old Pan American champion 8-2.

In earlier matches, he beat Eddie Valenzuela from Guatemala 6-1, Mammadov Samir from Azerbaijan 10-2, Anvar Yunusov from Tajikistan 8-1, Vincenzo Picardi from Italy 7-1.

"In his 12 years of boxing career, he has got many medals from various games. However, he was dreaming an Olympic medal all the time, although he lost the match four years ago in Athens, he never gave up. That's the reason why he kept fighting until now," said Sasithorn. "His dream now comes true."

At Somjit's hometown, Thai northeastern Korat Province's Bakchong district, thousands of local officials, villages, fans and media crews bombarded his house to watch live coverage and lend supports. They burst into cheers after Somjit's win.

His only son turns seven on Saturday. The boy got the best birthday gift from his father as Somjit earlier said that he will win an Olympic gold medal for his son. "My father is so cool. I want to be like him," the boy said on a TV live coverage.

Somjit will retire from the national boxing team after he returns from Beijing on Monday. However, he earlier said he wanted to be a youth boxing coach to stay in the sport he loves.

The win produced the second gold medal for Thailand in Beijing after Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon won the women's 53kg weightlifting event last week.

He is scheduled to return to Thailand on Monday with more than 15 million baht (about 450,000 U.S. dollars) incentive money from the government and private sectors waiting.

In another match, the light welter (64kg) final bout, Thailand's Manus Boonjumnong lost to Dominican's Felix Diaz, won a silver medal for Thailand. However, the Athens gold winner is also praised by Thais since he is the first Thai athletes who won medals in two Olympic Games.

Thailand so far got two golds and two silvers at the Beijing Games.

Source: Xinhua

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