On May 9th Belarus marked Victory Day in memory of WWII and also celebrated the values of peace and freedom which inspired the victories of that time.
The Belarus Muaythai Federation discussed this with the IFMA Executive Board during a meal of traditional Belarus delicacies hosted at the Stalin Line complex where all the athletes were guests at an outdoor celebration.
General Yury Kareav, chair of the Belarus Muaythai Federation, spoke eloquently about the power of peace, and the memories which still haunt his country. He said the World Championships was a moving sign of what can be achieved through sport when athletes from different countries come together.
Dr Sue Vize from UNESCO was also a guest at the luncheon. She reminded everyone UNESCO was set up in November 1945 specifically to prevent war by targeting education and eradicating poverty. She described the work IFMA is doing to promote friendship and community as “amazing” and encouraged the federation heads to broaden this even further.
Anatoly Simoncek from the Belarus federation told a touching story about one of the female fighters at this event who is an orphan but supported by fund-raising nationwide to encourage sport in the youth.
Stephan Fox, IFMA general secretary who is German, said in his country now the end of WW11 is seen as a liberation from a dictator rather than something to be mourned. He also called on the Board members to continue their commitment to intercultural events and encourage the athletes to work together in the spirit of this tournament in Belarus.
A delicious meal including local cheeses and soups, with traditional black bread was finished with chocolates and desserts each with their own story. The wrapping on one of the chocolates carried the image of the Sport Palace where the athletes compete.
The Stalin Line complex stages enactments of various battles during WW11 every year on this date, with historical artifacts on exhibition. Many children came to the festivities with their parents and grandparents.