After a busy summer of Muaythai action, many of the winning athletes have been honoured with awards in their home countries in recognition of their achievements. Winning a medal is about much more than sport, as these athletes are role models to inspire the next generation in physical health and mental strength.

As the sport of amateur Muaythai becomes more popular around the world, government and civic agencies have come to recognise the value of the athletes’ journeys. Muaythai is not a sport where there are easy roads to gold, only determination and dedication can bring reward. Young people learn and share the value of hard work and sportsmanship on their way. Holding these values can in turn inspire others to turn off their phones for a few hours or turn away from temptation and find balance in their lives.

In Turkey world champion, FISU gold medalist and European silver medalist Ali Dogan was received by the deputy Youth and Sports Minister Mr. Hamza Yerlikaya Sayın. He also featured on the cover of best-selling magazine Sports and Life.

The Russian national team had a successful summer, taking best team at the world and European championships.World and European champion Viktoriia Zhbankova (Russia) was given an award at the “I Choose Sport” evening. Student athletes also did well at the FISU WUC and two were included in the St Petersburg Culture and Sports Committee celebrations; silver medalists Mark Valovich  (who also won gold at Under-23 level in Cancun) and Viktoriia Sidorova. World and European Champion Svetlana Vinnikova was given the national Golden Belt award for martial arts excellence.

World Champion Viktoriia Zhbankova Russia

The UAE senior team participated at the Muaythai World Championships for the first time this year, taking three medals. The team was given a reception by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

World Champion Helena Jurisic was given a civic reception in her home city of Split in Croatia; a city which has produced more Olympic medalists than many national teams.

In Afghanistan the successful youth Muaythai team featured on popular show Morning Wish, continuing to believe in the power of sport for change in spite of sometimes tragic local situations currently.

Lithuanian athletes Ovidijus Jurginas and Mantas Rimdeika were honoured by the Mayor of Kaunas city, V. Matijošaitis for winning bronze and silver at the European championships in July.

But perhaps European champion Jakub Klauda (Czech Republic) won the sweetest prize of all, when he got married just weeks after claiming gold in front of a home crowd in Prague.

Read up on the final results for all IFMA athletes IFMA Live.

The next IFMA event is the Kaunas Muaythai Open in Lithuania, followed by the Asian Muaythai Championships and Anatayla Open.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.