Today muaythai history was made with the awarding of the first medals in at the first muaythai World University Championships. The FISU anthem was played nine times as the medals were awarded in glorious sunshine.
Among the highlights of the busy day were the 75kg battle which came down to 29:28 after three tight rounds, with Russia’s Aleksei Fedotov defeating Ali Choucair (Lebanon) Aleksei simply said afterwards he was happy but exhausted.
Ali said a Lebanese student won a medal at the 2015 FISU-IFMA world cup and he was proud to add another medal to that list, bringing Lebanon’s total at this tournament to two.
In the first women’s bout Nuttacha Chamuanjit (Thailand) took gold against Natalie Leciejewska (Poland). Another Thai student Kittisak Suksanguan took gold at 67kg after an equally close bout against Matysaev Bekzhan (Kyrgyzstan). Both Thai students are at the Physical Education Insitute and said they study in the morning with training only taken place afterwards.
Australian Diandra Martin took gold at 63.5kgs for Canberra University against Saeaia Phaenphloi (Thailand). And in the last women’s bout at 67kg Russian student Ekaterina Bezhan won out against France’s Maelle Deboulle.
Many of the students here are competing at their first international tournament and enjoying the lights and music laid on for today’s finals. Huge plumes of dry ice shoot into the air as they enter the ring, with suitably dramatic music.
Speaking after winning gold at 60kgs Belarus student Artsem Vinnik said: “I’ve no words to describe how I’m feeling. This is the first time I’ve been in Thailand, and the atmosphere coming out to the ring, the music – I like it so much. I can’t help wanting to fight here again, I’d like to come back for another FISU tournament!”
After the medal ceremonies – except for medal winners who attended the Doping Control instead – the athletes and officials took part in a candlelit Ceremony to make the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand. The beautiful cultural ceremony was a reminder of the ancient links between muaythai and the country where it originated.
We have one more day of action here from Pattaya, with 9 more finals on Sunday.
More news on the FISU website which carries updates on all FISU championships.
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