Muaythai kids around the world are counting the days until they hit Bangkok for the 2018 Youth World Championships! It’s set to be the biggest yet with up to 1,000 young athletes expected from all continents and four rings being built at the stadium.

This is the third year in which the Youth Worlds have been hosted in Thailand, and as it is the final year of this current agreement IFMA is going all out. The hosts for next year’s Youth Worlds will be announced formally during the event.

Chair of the Youth commission Elisa Salinas said she is sure there are many future champions who will experience their first IFMA bout at this tournament. She called on everyone to do their best, and remember that taking part and making friends is as important as what happens in the ring.

The elite-level medal podiums at the European Championships last week saw many former Youth athletes taking their place among the seniors. Viktoria Ivanets (Ukraine) who won gold at the Youth in 2016 took silver , while Ildot Ismonov (Russia) took gold and his team-mate Eduard Saik took silver. There was also a junior level contest with the gold medal winners preparing now to travel to Bangkok and represent their country on a larger stage.

Youth muaythai team Peru on the way to Thailand!

Other young athletes in countries like Iraq and Peru have already qualified and are on their way to Thailand.

As well as the main competition, the youth can take part in a Wai Kru contest. This is a hugely popular part of the event every year, when the athletes get to demonstrate some of the more elaborate ritual dances. There is also a Muay Boran contest; we are proud to see this ancient form of muaythai is still practiced and loved.  They will also attend a Youth Conference to allow for discussion of issues like doping and fair play in the spirit of the Olympic values and learn about future events especially for the older athletes who are ageing out of the Youth structure.

And of course there are plenty of lighter activities planned. The giant hotel swimming-pool will transform into a water world for the Muay Talay events (Sea Boxing). The Opening and Closing ceremonies will take place in the Siam Niramit theatre compound, a real cultural treat is in store there.

Sport Director Charissa Tynan said the team has been working hard for months already, and now the final touches are being put in place. She said Bangkok is ready to welcome the Youth for the biggest and best championships ever.

Follow IFMA on social media to meet the athletes and get updates on all the action as we count down to August 2nd:

IFMA Facebook IFMA Instagram IFMA  Twitter – and watch back last year’s bouts on IFMA Youtube.