The muaythai kids of the world are counting down to the Youth World Championships which start on August 2nd in Bangkok. With 83 national teams registered, this is set to be the biggest gathering of young athletes yet. But the championships are much more than muaythai with a packed agenda in store including a Youth Conference in the UN building.

The hundreds of children who are packing this week for the flight to Thailand will experience everything from traditional dance rituals to Sea Boxing – a new innovation especially for the Youth Championships.

The centrepiece of the extra-curricular activities will be the Youth Conference to be held this year in the UN building in downtown Bangkok. Simultaneous translation has been arranged so all the youth attending will understand everything  – it would be unfair to expect such young children to concentrate on English for the morning.

Every year the young athletes can perform their best Wai Kru with a prize for the most elegant and traditional. This ritual dance is typically done at the start of every muaythai bout by both athletes in the ring. During tournaments there is a time limit on each wai kru. But there are many variations, some long and beautiful so it’s exciting for the youth to have a chance to demonstrate their favourite moves.

Almost time! We can’t wait!

The martial art of muaythai originated with an even older form known as Muay Boran. Special clothing and hand-wraps from rope are used for this exhibition – the children get to dress up as ancient warriors and demonstrate the moves without full impact naturally.

For the last three years the youth have all stayed together in a large Bangkok hotel – complete with enormous swimming pool. Last year a fun water-based event was held, and this year’s plans are even bigger. The youth can look forward to a newly-minted game of “sea boxing” with giant inflatable gloves while balanced on a wide beam in the pool.

And for the first time this year some of the athletes will take part in a Muaythai Choir, and sing the beautiful muaythai anthem together. Already five countries have signed up their budding sopranos, and more are welcome!

Join us on social media to meet the young athletes and follow their journey to gold!

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Bout results will be on IFMA Live.