It is with great sadness that IFMA has learned of the passing of Mr Hein Verbruggen, former President of GAISF and SportAccord; former IOC member and former President of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Mr Verbruggen was a true visionary in the world of sport and a big supporter of muaythai and the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA). In 2005, he participated in the muaythai cultural festival in Bangkok to understand and learn more about muaythai in light of IFMA’s application to become a member of GAISF. It was in this event that Mr Verbruggen was particularly impressed by the performance of muaythai superstar Buakaw.

Muaythai gained recognition by GAISF in 2006 and Mr Verbruggen travelled again to Bangkok in 2007 when IFMA hosted the GAISF/SportAccord Combat Games Meeting in preparation for the 2010 SportAccord World Combat Games. Mr Verbruggen then also attended as guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the 2009 IFMA World Championships.

In 2012 Mr Verbruggen participated in the Gala Event in Bangkok at which IFMA lodged its Letter of Intent to officially apply for IOC recognition which was eventually achieved and granted in 2016.

The muaythai family expresses its deepest sympathies to Hein Verbruggen’s family and friends and as a tribute, a minute of silence will be observed in his honour during the IFMA Youth World Championships.