2016 Youth World Championship kick-off!

260816 Kazakhstan enrapt viewing bottles of water

Team Kazakhstan cheering!

After months of training and qualifications and a colourful opening ceremony, the competitions officially started.

Twenty-two buses filled with athletes and officials left the event hotel for the National Stadium, where 62 exciting bouts were planned for the day. The entire event was live streamed and the area packed to the last seat. A colourful display of national flags and uniforms made this a memorable day for athletes and spectators alike.

Today, we saw the 57 bouts in the youth division of ages 14-17; with a fantastic day for Afghanistan, USA, Korea, France, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Peru, Morocco, Iran, Brazil, Australia, Poland, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Vietnam, Hungary, Belarus, Hong Kong and certainly the home team, Thailand – all booking their place in the second round.

260816 Brazil circle of friends

Circle of friends Muaythai Brazil-style

It’s hard to pick stand-out fights. One male fight late in the day between Australia’s Brandon Spain and Ukraine’s Mykhalio Holovenko brought even neutral observers to their feet. Late-comers jumped on hoardings to get a peek at the ring as the battle flowed one way then the other with Ukraine taking the win on points.

The hugs shared by athletes just seconds after the final bell across both rings were a living example of the Muaythai motto of Fair Play and Respect  – win or lose, your opponent is always worthy.

260816 Chinese Taipei training at venue

Chinese Taipe getting in some final practice!

Many embassies sent representatives to support their team, with the Polish embassy, big Muaythai fans and the host country of the 2017 World Games being the first to arrive. VIPs and spectators shared the cheers as the kids competed for the pride of their country.

Day Two will see 68 bouts, including the younger age groups

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