Welcome Speech to IFMA Executive Committee Meeting

by HE Dr Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism & Sports
July 5, 2007, Windsor Hotel

Distinguished Executive Committee Members of IFMA,

Muaythai is the pride of Thailand, and a distinct part of Thai culture since the beginning of our Kingdom. The traditional roots of Muaythai date back over 1,000 years to a time when the Thai people used the superior fighting art to forge an independent country that evolved into modern day Thailand, the land of the free.

In the last two decades, Muaythai has undergone a surge of interest and our sport has become truly global. The World Muaythai Council, incorporated by the Royal Thai Government, has been charged with the responsibility for the expansion of Muaythai worldwide and to support the development of both amateur and professional participation. Muaythai with all its many facets, such as Muay Boran, Krabi Krabong or just as a self defence or fitness art, truly has become a way of life.

Thailand was truly proud that on the 6th of April 2006, Muaythai, under IFMA, after years of developing the amateur sport with proper rules, regulations and guidelines, was included into GAISF with a majority vote of the world sport community to become a truly recognized world sport.

Inclusion in GAISF means that Muaythai really has become part of the Olympic mainstream, and now in the future, has a true chance of becoming an Olympic sport.

This achievement with no doubt was only possible with the dedication and love of all the WMC and IFMA countries towards the art and sport of Muaythai, and as a Thai, I would like to thank all IFMA members from the bottom of my heart for this historical achievement.

We certainly are aware that there is much work in front of us to prove to the world even further the beauty and excitement of our sport in order to reach our final goal and destination – becoming an Olympic sport

Inclusion in GAISF is an important stepping stone towards this goal, but now the real work has just begun, and together we must work on our dream, proving to the sporting world that Muaythai has a rightful place in the Olympic family.

The Royal Thai Government is giving its full support to the WMC and IFMA, and we are proud, as I have heard that this year’s World Championship will have approximately 100 countries participating, making it the biggest single sporting event ever held in our country.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again from 27th November to 5th December, when we all gather here to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday and the fact that so many athletes and officials will come to join us truly shows the world family of Muaythai.

Furthermore, the fact that GAISF has decided, in honour of His Majesty the King, and the World Championship, to stage the GAISF Martial Art Meeting here in Bangkok on 5th December, is another historical point for our country.

Over the next 3 days I’m sure many important decisions will have to be reached, and looking at the agenda, I can see the seriousness of this meeting. In the name of the Royal Thai Government, and in my position as Minister of Tourism and Sports, I’m honoured that all of you traveled to Bangkok for the purpose of attending the Muaythai Executive Board Meeting, and I wish you a happy and pleasant stay in our Kingdom.