Sue Glassy, former world champion, IFMA Vice President, Oceania Muaythai Federation President and IFMA Female Commission Chair needs no introduction in the world of Muaythai. She is one of the pioneers in female Muaythai and one of the driving forces of Muaythai world-wide.
Sue, you have been involved in muaythai for more than 30 years of your life. What would you say has changed from the old days?
So much. Muaythai has become a recognized word-wide sport. I remember back in 2000 when I was still actively fighting, we couldn’t even get at least 15 national federations to send females to compete at the World Championships. Today, there are over 70 countries with female participants at every World Championship. Back in 2000, there was one female member in the executive board. Today, I think nearly 35% of all executive board members are female. Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Denmark and USA have female presidents leading their federations.
Sue, as one of the key players in the last 10 years on the administrative side, what would you say have been the key achievements for Muaythai?
Besides the obvious developments made by the female commission, one of our keys to success is the important youth development work we have been conducting in all 5 continents. Muaythai is simply different. Words like cultural understanding, respect, and honour are an integral part of our sport. We teach this to the children from the moment they start to become members of the Muaythai family and I think what is important is that we practice what we preach we well on the administrative side. Muaythai can pride itself with the work which has been done on sport integrity, the athletes career, the entourage and ethics, all of these groups work closely together for one common goal: to not just only practice in the sport, but at the same time, be a valuable asset to society.
Fairplay is one of the five pillars of muaythai. What does that mean for IFMA and Muaythai?
Fairplay means everything to us. As practitioners of Muaythai in sport and in life, we would rather lose in honour than win in dishonesty. Fairplay must be practiced at all levels. We are fully WADA compliant; we believe that prevention is the cure so we do seminars for athletes, coaches and doctors on a regular basis. At the same time, we must ensure that officiating is done at the highest standard and that the correct hand is lifted after the fight and we must keep all bad influences away from the competition such as illegal betting and so on. All this is what fairplay means to IFMA.
Sue, you have also been one of the driving forces of the development of female muaythai in general, especially with the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women program. What are some of IFMA’s programs in regards to empowerment for women?
We have been working hard in the last years to promote Muaythai, especially where females do not have the same social standings as males in general, and I can say that we have been extremely successful and will continue to do so. I can also say that we are working closely with UN Women and the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign to help promote awareness and empower women through the sport of Muaythai. We have collaborated on many things together including workshops, campaigns, and events. Last year, I had the honour of being in Mexico for the launch of the female empowerment program over there and I also had the privilege of launching IFMA’s Female Empowerment through Muaythai (FEM) program.
Although much has been done already in the area of empowerment for women, IFMA will continue to work hard and strive to educate the youth and contribute to the wellbeing of society as a whole.