The East Asian Muaythai Championships in Hong Kong, China is the 5th edition of one of Hong Kong’s most important events. Fully patronised by the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and funded by the Arts and Sports Development Fund of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau. Supported by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, as the largest and highest level muaythai event in Hong Kong, this year’s edition breaks its 3-year hiatus since the pandemic with the inclusion of athletes from 9 countries within the East Asian region.
The Hong Kong Muaythai Association (HKMTA) is one of the oldest in Asia and prides itself in being one of the original IFMA members which has, per square metre, the most muaythai gyms in the world. For over two decades, they have been showcasing world class events and are recognized by the sports federation and the Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, which also hosts the HKMTA headquarters. HKMTA were the host federations for the Championships under the sanctioning of the world governing body IFMA and the continental arm FAMA. The East Asian Muaythai Championships quickly became one of the most epic muaythai showdowns in modern muaythai, staged at the main stadium in Hong Kong, the Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
The championships kicked off with a spectacular opening with a large delegation from Thailand, the Sport Authority of Thailand and the National Sports Development Fund including IFMA’s Keeta Muaythai gold medalists, the infamous Lanna Fighting Team promoting Mai Muay and the beloved Pi Muay Band which IFMA takes around the world to promote muaythai’s various disciplines and the culture and heritage of this over 2000-year-old martial art.
Speaking front the stage, Mr. Pei SBS, BBS, MH, President of Muaythai Council of Hong Kong, China, said: “For many years, we have actively held training classes and competitions every year, greatly improving the skills and competitive level of local boxers. This year’s East Asia Muay Thai Championship 2023 is the largest ever. The competition increased from 9 to 13 divisions and included athletes from 9 countries and regions all travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the competition. I am delighted to be here with you to witness this great boxing event and show the extraordinary vitality of Hong Kong. Wish the game a great success, all the boxers do their best!”
In his speech, Mr. Lam Yuk Sin Chairman of Muaythai Council of Hong Kong, China, mentioned: “The Hong Kong Muaythai Association (HKMTA), from its establishment in 2002 with only a dozen members which now has more than 130 members, has witnessed the continuous efforts to promote Muaythai in the past 20 years.” He expressed his deepest gratitude and thanks to the Hong Kong Government, the IFMA. Mr. Woo rejoiced that the world of muaythai is finally back in full action after the epidemic wishing everyone good health and much happiness!
Mr. Stephan Fox, Secretary General of the IFMA and Vice President of the WMC, thanked and presented a special trophy to the Muaythai Association of Hong Kong on behalf of the IFMA President, Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan and FAMA President HE Abdullah Al Neyadi. The Chairman of the Hong Kong Muaythai Council’s Board Mr. Lin Woo, received the trophy and thanked the Board for its continued contribution and achievements. Mr. Fox went on to say, “The Hong Kong Muaythai Association is one of the leading national federations in the region with competitions of high calibre and standards. Thank you for inviting me to come as a representative to witness it, and thanks to the participation of all countries and regions.”
The four-day event, under the auspices of the Sport Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong prompted all traditional elements and disciplines of muaythai in the East Asian region including combat, Wai Kru, and Mai Muay as part of the event.
The East Asian Muaythai Championships was then opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. In attendance were many VIPs and distinguished guests, including South Korea team leader, Mr Seokmu KWON; India President, Mr Prasenjit SINGHA; EA Muaythai Championship 2023 General Assembly, Mr Huang; Chairman of the Muaythai Council, Hong Kong, China, Mr. Yao Lin Wo; Minister of Culture, Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong, Mr. Yuk Long Nishino; Secretary of the IFMA and Vice President WMC, Mr. Stephan Fox; Consulate General of Thailand in Hong Kong Mr. Jarupatra Rattan; EA Muaythai Championship 2023, Mr. Wang Yixing; Secretary General of the China Team, Dr. Guo Yan; Team Leader and Head Coach of the Hong Kong Team, Master Liang Weiyao; Head Coach of the Japan Team, Mr. Pingjing; Team Leader of the Macau Team, Master Jiang Guorong; and Director of the Chinese Taipei Team, Mr. Zhang Enhuang.
The East Asian Muaythai Championships is the largest and highest-level muaythai event held in Hong Kong. Participating athletes were from Bangladesh, China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Korea, Macau, China, Mongolia and Hong Kong, China, all of whom competed for medals in all levels of competition over the four days. The Chair of the IFMA Athletes’ Commission, Janice Lyn, was present to ensure the rules and regulations of the competition were being met and the health and safety of the athletes were prioritised.
During the Championships a three-day One Standard Muaythai (OSM) course was held by HKMTA in cooperation with IFMA, the Royal Thai Consulate-General of Thailand and the National Olympic Committee.
The Chairman of the HKMTA, Mr. Lam Yuk Sin, stated that this was an important workshop not only to continue to enhance muaythai as a cultural art-form and competition sport but also to further gain important knowledge in the safeguarding of the athletes and fair play.
The OSM course was opened by the Royal Thai Consulate-General of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Chaturont Chaiyakam who thanked HKMTA and IFMA for continuing the promotion of one of the Kingdom’s five soft-powers which includes muaythai at the national and world level. Mr. Chaiyankam congratulated the HKMTA for gaining IOC recognition and outlined the close cooperation between the Royal Thai Government and the IOC recognised muaythai family.