A spectacular Opening Ceremony featuring songs and dances from Thailand’s history and bringing muaythai to life officially started the muaythai World University Championships in Thailand. The athletes’ parade featured at the centrepiece of the activities.

The theme of the Ceremony was the links between muaythai and culture, that this ancient martial art is far more than a sport. And naturally as we are in the beachside resort of Pattaya, the dances paid homage to the influence of the sea on culture and the economy of the town.

The muaythai WUC was officially declared open with a roll of an ancient drum, signifying the beginning of an exciting week by the Thai Deputy Minister for Sport and Tourism Khun Ittiphol Khunplome.

During the ceremony Kesinee Tabtrai , an athlete on the Thai team read the Athlete’s Oath. This binds all athletes to a clean and fair tournament, she said doping is not welcome in muaythai and the oath binds all to a clean tournament.

For the muaythai athletes, the highlight was the extravaganza of light and dance re-telling the story of muaythai’s most famous legend – that of Nai Khanom Tom and his fighting prowess. Swords clashed, lights flashed and somewhere someone screamed as the fast-paced choreography whirled around the stage, through the ring and even into the audience.

In the midst of this colour, representatives of each of the 23 national teams carried their flags into the centre of the arena. Their colourful outfits fit in well with the bright set, as they trooped in and then watched the entertainment.

Mr Yang Yiguo FISU vice-president welcomed everyone to the arena, and wished all of the participants the best of luck in their endeavours. Other dignataries told the students this event will have an international legacy, and it promotes peace among people from different nations.

This beautiful ceremony and interviews with participants can be watched back here on IFMA Youtube.

Full details of the programme and results can be viewed  WUC Muaythai

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Watch the muaythai action live from Pattaya on IFMA Youtube.