At every tournament IFMA and EMF recognise the outstanding achievements and sportsmanship of athletes and officials – both inside and outside the ring. And of course one team scoops the award for Best Team based on their results.
The Best Team of the European Muaythai Championships 2018 in Prague is Russia, taking 12 golds home with them today. Dmitry Putilin, head of the Russian MuayThai Federation said the medal haul reflected the hard work put in by the athletes over the past months. He also praised their coaches and officials for providing a supportive and positive environment for all the athletes – both at home and in Prague.
Turkey and France both claimed six golds each, with four going to Ukraine and three to Portugal. Each of these federations have also worked hard over the past years to develop young athletes and ensure a structured system for training and bringing through new faces.
Full standings with a medal breakdown on IFMA Live. Individual awards were also given out. The jury had a tough time here making choices between a group of impressive young athletes across the divisions.
The Best Boxer (male) went to Jimmy Vienot (France) for an incredible series of four wins during the week. He faced top athletes from Austria, Lithuania and Stanislaus Perzhanovskyi from Ukraine on his road to the final – where he met The World Games champion Vital Hurkou (Belarus). In all bouts he showed fierce power, accuracy and creative techniques, working impressively with all eight muaythai weapons of hands, elbows, legs and knees. So the new European 75kg champion added another trophy to his collection.
Best boxer (female) went to Israeli athlete Nili Block who took her third European title to add to three IFMA world titles. Nili fought twice on her way to the final including facing The World Games silver medallist Gia Winberg (Finland). In the final she competed against Karoline Klusova (Czech). Nili is a fan favourite for the power of her techniques, and the skilful way she moves around the ring – shutting down her opponents.
The Rising Star awards went to Monika Chochlikova and David Kucera (Czech) . This was Monika’s first time representing Slovakia at an IFMA event with just ten muaythai bouts to her name – although experienced in other marital arts – and she claimed gold. She put out the 2016 gold medallist Galina Degtiareva (nee Popova) and defeated world bronze medallist Juliette Lacroix for gold. David won gold at junior level in a blistering final with German champion Manuel Grabanica.
The second team award was for the team which showed the best Spirit of Muaythai throughout the tournament. Team Turkey won this both for the sportsmanship of their athletes as they marched to gold and also for the exemplary way they behaved outside of the ring. Cheering and supporting each of their athletes whether winning or losing, everyone knew when Turkey was in the ring. They also offered friendship to other teams – sending coaches to assist some of the smaller teams like Azerbaijan in the corners for example.
The individual spirit of muaythai prize went to gold medalist Vasily Netrebko, Russia for his commitment to training while working in a high-risk job at home, and continually helping the younger members of the team – he is 37!
Kevin Martinez Bravo (Spain) won the Best Wai Kru award – this ritual dance is done at the start of every bout and has many variations. Kevin went for an elegant traditional version which caught the jury’s eye – he took a silver medal for Spain in the 54kg final.
Referee Jens Wilke was awarded top referee of the tournament for his calm and steady handling of even most tempestuous bouts. The German referee is known for both his in-depth knowledge of the technical rules of muaythai, and his ability to control a bout and keep the athletes safe from start to end.
The awards gala concluded in a celebration of all the referees and winners as they lined the stage to music and cheers. A fitting conclusion to a fantastic week, wonderfully hosted by the Czech Muaythai Federation.
More photographs on European Muaythai Championships
Full results and athlete profiles on www.ifmalive.com
Watch back all the week’s action on the IFMA Youtube channel.