2016 was a historical year for muaythai for many reasons. A number of accolades were added to muaythai’s history, including its recognition from the IOC, the signing of the MoU with UNESCO and also the important steps made in promoting female muaythai. A major achievement was seen especially in muslim countries, such as Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The development was acknowledged in Afghanistan, with the national federation winning the IFMA Gender Equality award, at the Youth World Championships, presented by Ms. Melissa Alvarado, UN Women’s Ending Violence against Women Programme Specialist.
The Iranian National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Islamic Republic of Iran have fully endorsed female muaythai, bringing them back into competition, at the IFMA World Cup in Kazan, Russia. IFMA Vice President, Ms. Sue Glassey, who is also chair of the Female Commission stated that this was an important development as Iran had been considered as one of the power houses in the sport. Ms. Glassey especially thanked the IFMA General Secretary, Mr. Stephan Fox, who travelled with FAMA Sport Director, Ms. Azadeh Kamyabi, to Iran for meetings with the NOC, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Martial Arts Federation. This resulted in Iran not only sending a female team, but also beginning technical courses and sending female referees to IFMA courses, truly adopting the spirit of Sport For All.
The Iranian female team’s return home from Kazan with 2 bronze medals is a clear indication that there is much female talent in the country, with the future looking bright.
IFMA would like to thank especially the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the NOC of Iran and the Martial Arts Federation for all the support and their vision.