EC Croatia Day 3 Belarus selfie ring
Belarus will remember this moment!

Another cracking day of muaythai here in Split with 29 fights for male and female athletes in the rings!

The day starts early here with medical checks and weigh-ins for athletes from 7am – and of course that means the doctors and referees are up at that hour too. Good thing we all love muaythai so much or things could get cranky!

So much high-quality action today it seems almost unfair to mention people by name, but some of the highlights were:

Women from twelve different countries fought today with Turkey, Belarus and Russia having more than one female athlete in action. One bout saw Turkey’s Funda Alkayis taking on Myriame Djedid from France in a particularly close and exciting battle.

Alkayis based her approach around the teep-kick using that to try and control the fight, but Djedid was more than comfortable in the clinch and tried again and again to bring the fight back to that level. Both were strong puncher, with Alkayis favouring the outside longer punches and Djedid working to get inside all the time

The bout went down to the wire, with both athletes defiantly raising their hands at the bell before the judges ultimately gave the result to Turkey.

EC Croatia Day 3 Turkey France two muslim fighters female
Turkey vs France at the end of a tough bout!

A battle royal at 51kgs in the male division took place between Sweden’s Giang Hoang and Russian Egor Ishchuk. Quite evenly matched both sent in swift combos of rooundhouse kicks followed by punch combos, seeming almost to take turns such was the pace of their blocking and parrying. Ishtuk took the win on points.

Today also saw a number of colourful mongkhons – the headwear worn during the traditional dance at the start of the ring. While many athletes travelling overseas bring replaceable objects, some competing today had clearly brought meaningful choices. Many athletes choose to have blessings sewn into their mongkhons to bring them luck, and this would be a reason to transport it.

So we saw a vibrant yellow one, pink and purple with ribbons, large blue and black bands and many other shades in between.

EC Croatia Day 3 wai khru Russia girl
The mongkhon worn on the head symbolises our sport’s connection with over a thousand years of Thai tradition, this one a Russian version.

Unfortunately of course the luck only works for one person in the ring at a time, but as one athlete put in during her post-fight interview with Croatian TV: It was an experience, and I learned a lot from it.

And for those who won they compete again for a chance to win a place at the 2017 The World Games and take home a medal from these championships.