Sergeant Kaew Pongprayoon paid a visit to Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday and left with the promise that he would soon become Lieutenant Kaew Pongprayoon.
Sgt Kaew, of course, is Thailand's newest boxing hero, winning a silver medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games that most Thais strongly believe should have been gold.
‘‘I have to congratulate Sgt Kaew for bringing fame to Thailand,’’ Gen Prayuth said after meeting the 32-year-old light flyweight boxer from Kamphaeng Phet at the Royal Thai Army headquarters yesterday morning.
Gen Prayuth also announced that he had given the boxer 60,000 baht for winning his silver medal.
The army chief also promised strong support for the development of amateur boxing in Thailand.
‘‘The army will continue to sponsor boxing and will produce more athletes to bring fame to Thailand in the next four years.
‘‘Regardless of what medals the athletes win, they represent Thailand and I will support them,’’ he said.
Lieutenant-to-be Kaew wants to be a part of that effort, not as a boxer, but as a trainer.
The 32-year-old will not have another chance at winning Olympic gold because the age limit for Olympic boxers is 34.
Initially, he said he would consider whether to continue fighting in other tournaments such as the SEA Games. But he said yesterday he was hanging up his gloves.
‘‘I want to help train younger boxers,’’ he said.