Day 4: School visits, the haka and friendship …

New Zealand Haka at school

New Zealand demonstrate the Haka!

Today many of the children took a few hours off to visit local schools and swap gifts and songs. Some really moving moments took place, crossing the language barriers with ease.
Athletes from the five continents travelled to schools around the city bringing cultural gifts.
The New Zealand team did a traditional Haka dance to the delight of the Thai students. And in return one group of Thai musicians demonstrated how to play traditional instruments including the gamelan used at Muaythai shows.

Brazil vs Thailand football

Brazil playing football with their Thai host school!

At another school the Australians broke out a rugby ball, and cricket. And some Peruvian athletes demonstrated how the Salsa dance is done in their home. Brazilian and Malay students were delighted to receive traditional flowers to hang around their neck.

This type of cultural exchange reflects the IFMA motto of creating One World through One Muaythai – all of these kids are more than sportspeople, they are ambassadors for their countries.

2908 Germany vs Holland 75kgs

Netherlands – matching their mouthguards to their shirts!

And in the afternoon the fights began again in both rings with a full crowd. Some school cheering-squads now accompany the Thai fighters adding to the atmosphere, with the large teams from Tukey and Australia in full voice  – lending a real festival atmosphere to the event.

Over all the cheering is the live music from two Thai orchestras accompanying the fights. In spite of a heavy downpour in the afternoon, the crowds continued cheering right to the final fights late in the evening.

Stand-out fights included a royal battle between the Thai and Vietnamese champions in the girls 16 to 17 division which brought the crowd surging to their feet on more than one occasion. And in the boys divisions, it was standing room only for some fights with spectators balanced on chairs to make sure of not missing any action.

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