Panipak Wongpattanakit is Thailand's first-ever Olympic taekwondo champion ©Getty Images

Olympic taekwondo champion Panipak Wongpattanakit, the first Thai athlete to medal at Tokyo 2020, returned home to a hero's welcome from adoring fans and the promise of almost THB20 million (£435,700/$608,000/€512,700).

Wongpattanakit beat Spaniard Adriana Cerezo in the women’s under-49 kilograms final to win her second Olympic medal, having won a bronze in the same division at Rio 2016.

She won the bout in dramatic fashion with a last-gasp kick to clinch the victory on Saturday (July 24).

The 23-year-old, nicknamed "Tennis", arrived in Phuket from the Japanese capital along with national coach Choi Young-seok and the rest of the Thai taekwondo team.

The new Olympic champion was met at the airport by her father, Phuket Governor Narong Wunsiew and Taekwondo Association of Thailand President Pimol Srivikorn, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

Wongpattanakit, overwhelmed by the support, claimed it was the best day of her life.

She and the team also received flowers and a message of support from Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya.

The Surat Thani native is already looking to the future - after some relaxation time.

"I want to do the best in every competition," Wongpattanakit said, per the Bangkok Post.

"I want to be in the next Olympics in Paris, if I'm physically fit.

"The very first thing I want to do in Phuket is enjoy good food - seafood, cookies, cake, grilled meat and a lot more."

In addition to the donations amounting to THB20 million, Gongsak Yodmani, head of Sports Authority of Thailand, said the National Sports Development Fund was ready to reward the taekwondo player with THB10 million (£218,000/$304,200/€256,250) outright or THB12 million (£261,700/$365,185/€307,550) if she preferred it in instalments.

The achievement was Thailand's 10th Summer Olympic gold medal of all time, and the country's first in taekwondo.