Heo Yerin takes gold for Korea, silver to Thailand’s Peeuyalux Sanpokang

Young muaythai athletes showcased the best of muaythai in Jincheon this week at the World Youth Martial Arts Masterships in Jincheon, Korea.

Full teams from countries like Afghanistan, Malaysia and India as well as host country Korea put on a great display, with smaller teams like New Zealand and Nepal also showing they weren’t just there to make up the numbers.

After high-class competition, the finals saw athletes from seven countries  – Korea, Thailand, Nepal, The Philippines, Malaysia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. IFMA general secretary Stephan Fox – who attended every day of competition – said: ‘It is always exciting to see young athletes competing and showing the same level of skill as the older teams. Many of these athletes also competed in the Youth World Championships in Bangkok, and you can see they are applying here the lessons learned, and will continue to improve.’

He said he welcomed the strong showing of teams like Nepal and India which are investing in youth muaythai, and praised the Korean team for their medal haul.

The day wasn’t just about sport, with a fun K-pop dance display taking place in the ring to the delight of the many children in the audience. The dancers? Muaythai athletes from every team! The winner received a high-spec bicycle.

One of the sports highlights was in the 16 – 18 age category between Korea’s Heo Yerin and Thai athlete Peeuyalux Sanpokang in the girl’s division. Heo was determined to bring home gold in front of the home crowd, and used long-range teep and body-kicks to clock up the points. Screamed home by the crowd, she claimed a 29 – 28 victory against the Thai youth champion.

In the male division her team-mate You Jun also won silver in this age category, against the winner Afghanstan’s Humayuon Rezai at 54kg.  Two golds also went to the Korean boys team for Jeong Seong Uk (67kg) and Go Jae Young (57kg).

Another stand-out bout was in the male division at 48kg when old rivals The Philippines and Malaysia faced off again. Riedzwan Norsyahmie Daud took gold on just one point at 29:28 against Filipino Kiristian Narca after a fast-paced bout with emphasis on punching, and in-close clinch-work from both boys.

Overall The Philippinnes youth team took six gold, one silver and two bronze from the tournament. This included another gold for Ghen-Yen Berdon, IFMA youth world champion at 48kg. Secretary General of the Philippines Muaythai Federation Ms. Pearl Managuelod who is also IFMA Executive Board member did a truly great work in recent years coordinating Philippine Muaythai. Also Malaysia took three silver and two gold medals in male and female divisions.

Team Thailand took three gold and one silver medal home. And three gold medals, one silver went to Team Afghanistan, both in the boy’s divisions, and two bronze in the female divisions.

Full results from muaythai at the Youth World Martial Arts Masterships.

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