The young athletes taking part in the muaythai Youth World Championships were given a spectacular welcome to Bangkok this evening by troupes of dancers and musicians. Government representatives attended including Deputy Minister for Sport and Tourism Khun Ittiphol Khunplome who formally opened the Ceremony.

The centrepiece of the event was the Athletes’ Flag Parade when teams could choose to send the whole team or representatives to march behind the national flag into the stadium. This exciting event was streamed live on IFMA Facebook and will be shown later on IFMA Youtube.

IFMA President Dr Sakcyhe Tapsuwan welcomed the teams to the stadium, and said they will have a fantastic week and called on everyone to do their best so they can feel happy with making the best effort they can in the ring and outside of the tournament.

The Deputy Minister said it is a proud time for Thailand to see so many young sportspeople from all over the world joining together to practice muaythai. And a representative from the Department of Physical Education who are the hosting partner for the event said it will be an exciting and fun-filled week of culture and muaythai.

Stephan Fox, general secretary of IFMA said sport is a right for all, and muaythai can bring people closer together. He said the IFMA family is united and the athletes will stay united throughout this week in spite of political or religious differences between nations outside of the tournament boundaries.

The young athletes were entertained by a series of increasingly fantastical dances including a homage to the ancient traditions of muaythai.

And in a first for an IFMA event the tournament anthem “We are Muaythai” was sung by a group of children who unaccompanied sang the whole song to great applause. They wore colourful T-shirts marked with the Sports Is Your Gang logo to mark the IFMA social project which so many federations watching participate in.

Tomorrow’s bout schedule can be viewed on IFMA Live , and get live results on the same website from 15:00 (GMT + 7).

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