A stunning display of traditional muaythai welcomed press and delegates to the launch of the IFMA Youth World Championships in Bangkok.
Senior government officials including representatives from the Department of Physical Education joined with IFMA president and IFMA general secretary to launch this huge event. Athletes have been flying into the city all week ready to take part in the tournament which starts competition tomorrow.
Muaythai is not just about sport anymore, the Department said, it has evolved into a way of life including the culture of Thailand and the world. They said the children all bring their own love of muaythai to the tournament, and together with the children of Thailand they are re-making the sport in their own way.
Dr Sakcyhe Tapsuwan from IFMA said the tournament shows the growing strength of muaythai globally, and is a good sign for future involvement in events like The World Games.
Stephan Fox, IFMA said: ‘We keep developing, and encouraging the Youth. We have a dream for their future, we don’t know where this journey will take us but we know they will have the chance to shine in the future.’
He said that IFMA cannot hide our sense of pride when looking at the Youth especially the Youth Leaders and young Team Captains. The IFMA youth are a living example that respecting and accepting culture and social differences by living and competing together under the same roof is possible, he said.
Unity and diversity is more than a slogan for IFMA, and this championships proves that with participants from 79 countries; giving hope for a better tomorrow and proving that sport can make a difference.
Mr Fox referred to last week’s participation by muaythai in The World Games 2017 and said he hopes those 88 athletes will now inspire a new generation to compete at the highest levels of our sport.
All speakers described the cultural activities which take up close to 50% of the programme for this week’s events.
The youth will run a Youth Gala, including young entertainers and MC. A session called ‘Muay Talay’ takes place near their hotel swimming pool with booth set up to allow the youth to showcase their national sports and activities.