Day one of the IFMA finals saw so many historical moments with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia winning their first ever gold medal and to top it off, in the female division. Hattan Alsaif beat Individual Neutral Athlete Elizaveta Zavarzina in the Under 23 female -48kg division. Hattan was already one of the top contenders with stunning performances in the build up to the final and put on a world class performance being the pride of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this championship.
There were so many other outstanding performances of the afternoon in the female division.
Morocco’s Kaltoum Akhlouf beating Luong Nguyen Thi Hien from Vietnam in the Under 23 -48kg division.
Sweden’s Vilda Ekhorn beating beating Dung Nguyen Thi from Vietnam in the Under 23 -54kg division.
The United Arab Emirates made history by taking a female gold medal when Zineb Bouthmada beat Matilde Rodrigues from Portugal in the Under 23 -57kg division.
Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Phuong Hau took revenge for the Vietnamese team’s loss against Sweden by beating Antonia Drevenlid from Sweden in the Under 23 -60kg division.
Malaysia’s Amisha Binti Azrilrizal beat Fatemeh Mamani from Iran in the Under 23 -51kg division while Vietnam had another win when Tyut Tran Thi Anh beat Ghada Mobarak from Egypt in the Under 23 -75kg division and the Moroccan Siada Lahmidi beat Nicole Lowe-Tarbert from Australia in the Under 23 -67kg division.
Individual Neutral Athlete Iuliia Shokhina beat Soumia Toulaoui from Morocco in the Under 23 -71kg division.
The men’s division saw Malaysia’s Mohmmad Rifdean Bin Masdor beating Daler Sobirov from Uzbekistan in the Under 23 -51kg division.
France’s Abdelkarim Idir beat Joel Colaço from Portugal in the Under 23 -57kg division.
Individual Neutral Athlete Mazhid Temaev beat Basta Abdelmouneme from Algeria in the Under 23 -60kg division while Individual Neutral athletes Maksim Miasnikov beat Ibrahem Bilal from United Arab Emirates in the Under 23 -63.5kg division.
Sweden’s Dalian Dawody beat Ilan Rachid from France in the -71kg division while Individual Neutral athlete Aleksandr Ulianitskii beat Xodjaev Raxmatjon Raximovich from Uzbekistan in the -75kg division.
Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Tsarikov beat Andy Kiecker from USA in the Under 23 -81kg division.
Palestine’s Ahmad Bilal banked an action-packed historical win against the USA’s Huxley Martin.
Uzbekistan Zubayr Husanov beat Muhammad Fadzmi Aiman Mohd Fadzli from Malaysia.
UAE’s Mohammed Mardi beat Individual Neutral Athlete Sergei Solovev in the Under 23 -86kg division.
Moroccan Boudik Ibrahim beat Ahmed Nasef from Egypt in the Under 23 -91kg division and in the final fight of the heavy weights Algeria’s Mammeri Cherif Wail beat Baling Ladover from Hungary in the Under 23 +91kg division.
There were so many incredible performances and some heart-breaking losses. This day showed not only muaythai in all its beauty but how the IFMA female development work over the last years has paid off. If you look at the flags in the medal ceremony, not only were there athletes from all five continents at the podium but athletes who have come from countries with deep tension, shaking hands and showing respect for one another.
The same went for the VIP section where ambassadors from many countries shook hands showing sportsmanship. The stage is now set for the second day of finals with a full house.
Congratulations to everyone who made it to the podium but in true IFMA meaning, we never lose but learn to come back stronger.