The muaythai student athletes and all participants at the FISU took part in a beautiful candle-lit ceremony to mark the 66th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn. This took place after the end of the competition of the day, when the first finals were complete.
The colour Yellow is strongly associated with royalty in Thailand, and all participants wore yellow T-shirts emblazoned with the emblem also of the IPC, the host university of this tournament for students.

Fantastical dancers led the way into the arena. But the main focus of the solemn ceremony was the lighting of candles by the Master of Ceremonies Dr Pariwat Wannaklang.

It was a beautiful and heartfelt ceremony, and a reminder that muaythai today is a modern sport but it has its origins in this ancient culture with many links still to the monarchy.

And in Bangkok the professional sister of IFMA – the World Muaythai Council – is partaking in a 100-bout muaythai extravaganza to mark His Majesty’s birthday. Read about that here.