IFMA World Championships 2012: Meet the Turkish Muaythai Federation

Muaythai in Turkey began its legalization process in 1999. Beginning Muaythai activities in 2002 in an umbrella organization, in 2009, with the decision of the Turkish Muaythai Federation (TMF), the Ministry of Sports, the General Directorate of Sports and with the approval of the Turkish Prime Minister, an autonomous national Muaythai federation was established. Halil Durna was elected as the president and Hasan Yıldız as the deputy chairman.

Every year TMF, under the leadership of Halil Durna and Hasan Yıldız, organises seminars, courses and meetings for the development of the sport. Annual county, regional and national championships are organised in the Children’s, Junior, Youth and Senior categories.  TMF has been organising intercollegiate championships for three years and has been sending these athletes to international competitions.

Following 2012, Muaythai will be an optional subject in the Sport Faculties of Turkish universities. With a project initiated this year, under the direction of the Ministry of Education, competitions will be organised at the primary and secondary school levels. A further project in discussion with the Ministry of Youth and Sports has the purpose of preparing A-Class sportsmen and sportswomen for future competitions.

Since 2007, organisations under the Muaythai National Super League have been established. As these competitions are broadcast on national TV channels, they are watched by millions of people.  Turkey successfully organised IFMA/EMF’s 6th European Muaythai Championship and the 7th European Muaythai Championship & 12th European Cup, between the years 2011 – 2012.

Every year, the Balkan Muaythai Federation, established by Balkan countries and under the presidency of Halil Durna in cooperation with TMF, organises the “Balkan Kids Championship.”  In 2012, the Turkish Veterans Championship (competitors over the age of 35) was also organised in Turkey.  Under the name “Sports for Women” an organisation has been made for female athletes only.  TMF is also currently organising a World Youth Muaythai Championship in Istanbul, Turkey from March 7th-14th, 2013.

Within the Turkish Muaythai Federation, there are 7 regional executive presidential committees, representatives in 79 of Turkey’s counties, 654 sports clubs, 1,120 trainers , 2,030 referees, 10,350 female and 24,250 male (34,600 in total) athletes.

This year in Turkey, in preparation for the 2012 IFMA World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, there have been county championships, with the attendance of 2,000 athletes, regional championships, with the attendance of 1,500 athletes and finally national championships, with the attendance of 450 athletes.

The 30 athletes ranking in 1st place at the national championships have now been selected for Turkey’s national team. They are currently taking part in a World Championship training camp, following a program of training for 10 days each month, for 4 straight months. Turkey will be more than ready when September rolls around!