The 2016 Youth World Championships concluded with the Youth Awards Gala. A fantastic finale that will be etched in the memories of the youth for many years. The ballroom was lit up with great splendour as well as smiling faces of all the well-deserved youth and participants of the competition.
The night honoured and awarded outstanding performances in and out of the field of play, with awards for athletes and teams that rose as champions within the competition and special awards for outstanding efforts in social responsibility and youth development. The gala night not only honoured past legends and champions that have left us but also celebrated the accomplishments and promises of the current youth who are the legends and the champions to come.
The Gala was presided over by an honoured and proud supporter of Muaythai, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, HE Kobkarn Wattanvrangkul. Her Excellency stated that she not only spoke for herself but the entire kingdom of Thailand, that this event is a testament to the fact that sporting and cultural exchanges in Muaythai goes hand in hand and that the youth of Muaythai are not just ambassadors of the sport, but also ambassadors of peace, understanding and respecting the differences we all have.
The night was hosted by the young and incredibly talented budding star of “The Voice Kids” Thailand Miss Imani Cintado-O’Donovan, who also treated the crowd with her powerful voice in special song performances. There were also performances from team Thailand of the International Cheer Union, the sensational Question Mark youth band with a special tribute to the King of Thailand and many others. IFMA’s own youth performed the final winning Wai Kru and Muay Aeriobic routines, honouring the traditional elements of our sport. The entire programme of the night was hosted by the youth, while the numerous VIPs who filled up the ballroom presented the awards to the youth. The competition season saw an outstanding number of countries going above and beyond the competitive elements of the championships. These national teams were recognised and honoured with special awards for Fair Play and Friendship, celebrating the true spirit of sport and the camaraderie within the IFMA family.
Every year, IFMA pays tribute to the fallen heroes of everyone’s lives and a touching ceremony was held for one for the greatest sporting heroes of all time, Mohammed Ali.
The night rounded off with a fantastic parade from the Medal Winners. As they got showered with confetti, they were led in by the loud and extravagant Thailand Cheerleader group; reaffirming IFMA’s vision and focus on the youth, who are the promise of tomorrow and the bright future of the sport of Muaythai. The smiling faces of all the winners was IFMA’s reward for a great Youth World Championships and for the ones that did not make it to the podium this year, may they be inspired to come back stronger in the years to come.
There are no borders in muaythai. Our youth are our hope for a better tomorrow. The IFMA representative of the Athletes’ Commission, Janice Lyn from Canada, summed it all up stating, “There are no losers in Muaythai, we only learn and become stronger and the lifelong friendships are gold medals that everyone takes home.”